A woman is holding her hand to her head
Sometimes the warning signs of brain cancer are so subtle, can go unnoticed or are so common that they are often confused with other conditions.

9 Warning Signs of Brain Cancer

Brain cancer is a devastating diagnosis that can impact virtually anybody. There are two types of brain cancer known as primary and metastatic.

Primary brain cancer occurs when a tumor develops in the brain while metastatic, however, refers to cancer that originated elsewhere in the body and then traveled to the brain. Both instances can be life-threatening.

Over 80,000 new cases of primary brain tumors are expected to be diagnosed this year. Of that number, 32 percent will be malignant.

Various factors such as age and medical history and stage of development will determine the survival rate. Of course, as with any other type of cancer, early detection is critical. It’s important to be aware of the signs of brain cancer so you can seek proper treatment right away.

Let’s take a look at some of the potential warning signs of brain cancer that you should look out for. Be aware, that sometimes warning signs are so subtle that they go unnoticed or so common that they are often confused with other illnesses or conditions.


We all experience headaches from time to time, so this may be a symptom that warrants no worry at first. Pay attention to the number of occurrences, severity, and what time of day headaches are most likely to occur.

Research indicates that prolonged, severe headaches that seem to worsen early in the morning or during physical activity could be a potential sign of brain cancer. Keep in mind, headaches are not usually early warning signs, but can occur once a tumor has reached a considerable size.


Because of how the brain operates, if a tumor is present, it may cause the brain to shoot of neurons irregularly. This can lead to involuntary movements known as seizures.

Keep in mind that seizures aren’t always wildly apparent. Sometimes, a seizure can be a slight tick or jerk.

Vision problems

In some instance, brain cancer can impede your ability to see correctly. If you suddenly develop double-vision, periodic blindness, or inability to use your peripheral vision, then you should seek medical help right away. This could be a sign of a brain tumor located in the temporal lobe, occipital lobe, or brain stem.


Numbness is a noninvasive sign that may easily go unnoticed. This usually occurs if a brain tumor develops on the stem of the brain. Take care to make sure that you have normal feeling in your extremities (legs, arms, hands, feet, etc.). Keep in mind the loss of feeling may be gradual.

Changes In Personality

Sometimes, tumors can influence personality and mood. While drastic changes can occur, more often it is slight changes such as memory loss, confusion, or inability to concentrate.

Pay attention if people around you comment on any sudden changes in your demeanor or if you suddenly have problems processing information. In some instance, this could mean the development of a tumor in in the frontal and temporal lobe of the cerebrum.

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Again, this is another subtle symptom that can easily be explained away by an upset stomach or other common illness.

However, take care to document the number of times that you have an upset stomach and if any potential culprits could have caused it. In some cases, persistent nausea and sudden vomiting can be a tell-tale sign of a developing tumor.

Language Issues

Another subtle sign of a brain tumor could be sudden changes in speech. A tumor in the frontal lobe could cause this as this is the area that controls speaking and language comprehension.

Don’t blow it off if you suddenly begin slurring your speech or have difficulty recalling words or understanding others.

Inability to Swallow

A brain tumor on the brain stem can also influence how well you can chew, swallow, and control your facial expressions. If you suddenly experience the inability to swallow your food or secretions correctly, then you should contact your medical professional right away.

Sleep Issues

Brain cancer can impact multiple aspects of your energy. You may experience insomnia, exhaustion, or inability to stay awake throughout the day. The hustle and bustle of everyday life may make you feel tired, but don’t ignore chronic sleep issues. It could be a sign of a potentially life-threatening condition.


Pay attention to your balance. If you find yourself fumbling or falling more often, it could be a sign that something is seriously wrong. There are countless reasons a person may be clumsy from time to time, but like other potential symptoms, pay close attention to sudden changes or numerous occurrences.