Symptoms of a Brain Tumor

Since there are so many different types of brain tumors, the symptoms will vary. But what brain tumors generally have in common is that they take up space and put pressure on surrounding tissue and block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). That pressure can lead to these common symptoms:

  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting (usually in the morning)
  • personality changes
  • irritability or depression
  • drowsiness or lethargy

When an individual has a brain tumor in the front of the brain (the cerebrum), symptoms may include:

  • seizures
  • vision problems
  • slurred speech
  • paralysis or weakness on half of the body or face
  • drowsiness and/or confusion

When someone has a brain tumor in the brain stem, symptoms may include:

  • clumsiness or difficulty walking
  • respiratory problems
  • double vision or other vision problems
  • paralysis or weakness on half of the body or face

When someone has a brain tumor in the back of the brain (the cerebellum, which controls movement and balance), symptoms may include:

  • uncoordinated movement
  • problems walking
  • lack of coordination and balance
  • trouble with fine motor control, including handwriting
  • difficulty swallowing

Of course, not everyone with a headache or episodes of clumsiness has a brain tumor. Since the symptoms of a brain tumor can be vague and can be the same as symptoms of other conditions, anyone showing any of these neurological symptoms should be evaluated first by their primary care physician. Your doctor may order further tests or refer you to a neurologist or neurological surgeon for further evaluation.  If you need an evaluation, you may request an appointment using our online form.

Request an Appointment | Refer a Patient

What our Patients Say

Ronald Piscitello was only 47 years old when his life changed completely — not in an instant, but over the course of a long, confusing year. Today he is a changed man, and his wife and family are grateful to have him back after a frightening...
David “Smoky” Wurtzel, 91, of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, earned his nickname from a prep school teacher as a nod to the lit cigarette the young man always had in his hand. Smoky quit the habit 52 years ago, but he never did give up the nickname —...
At age 79, Barbara Rothenberg is the matriarch of a large, tightknit family. She presides over eight successful children — seven lawyers and a pediatric nurse practitioner — as well as 50 grandkids and 17 great-grandchildren. As the managing partner...
Rhys Gilyeat, 36, is a New York performer, musician, vocalist, and multidisciplinary artist focusing on illustration and mixed media. When he’s not performing or working on his art, he’s traveling internationally with his partner, Paul. “We’re...
Rod Nordland is an international correspondent at large for The New York Times. In 2019, while covering climate topics in India, he was suddenly diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a malignant brain tumor. He wrote about his experience...
It came from out of nowhere. Jodi Brooks, 46, a managing partner at Finn Partners, a leading integrated marketing agency, had a sudden seizure while talking on the phone — her vision became fuzzy and words no longer made sense. Then her world went...
Lauren Babjak, better known to her more than 300,000 YouTube subscribers as “eLL cartoons,” is a 30-year-old animator from Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Based on her lighthearted stories, you wouldn’t think she’d recently faced an ordeal fewer than 1...
Eneida Ramos, 39, has a full, active life. At any given moment she may be found volunteering, painting, working on her DIY projects, or cuddling her baby boy. Nothing about her cheery demeanor would suggest that until recently her life had been on “...
Fortunately for Stephanie her tumor was low grade, with a much better prognosis than many other types of gliomas. “When treating brain tumors, we often deal with glioblastoma, which is a more serious matter,” says Dr. Ramakrishna. “But once we saw...
To say it was a bad trip would be an understatement. Adam Carroll, 33, was in New York on business when he suddenly lost consciousness. “I was rushed to hospital—and not sure what happened,” he recalls, “but I woke up surrounded by paramedics.”...
A woman with a debilitating meningioma finds relief – and understanding – at Weill Cornell Medicine
By Theodore H. Schwartz, M.D. In July 2009 I met a new patient, a writer named Peter Hyman.  It’s not often that a neurosurgeon is faced with the prospect of operating on such a thoughtful, articulate, and inquisitive patient, which may be why I...

Where should I go for treatment of glioblastoma multiforme?

Glioblastoma multiforme is a complicated  diagnosis, and it’s important that you be treated at a major medical center where the neuroscience team has experience with these brain tumors. At the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, a world-class team of pre-eminent experts on glioblastoma multiforme evaluates each new cases and develops an individual treatment plan that may include surgery, radiation, stereotactic radiosurgery, and chemotherapy. (See Diagnosing and Treating Glioblastoma Multiforme.)

Are there clinical trials for glioblastoma multiforme I could be joining?

Ask your medical team what clinical trials may be appropriate, and find out about clinical trials for brain tumors here at Weill Cornell. You can also check the current list of clinical trials on Find out more about glioblastoma multiforme.

Our Care Team

  • Chair and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief
  • Margaret and Robert J. Hariri, MD ’87, PhD ’87 Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Vice Provost of Business Affairs and Integration
Phone: 212-746-4684
  • Vice Chair for Clinical Research
  • David and Ursel Barnes Professor of Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery
  • Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Otolaryngology
  • Director, Center for Epilepsy and Pituitary Surgery
  • Co-Director, Surgical Neuro-oncology
Phone: 212-746-5620
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Leon Levy Research Fellow
  • Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute
Phone: 646-962-3389
  • Professor of Radiology in Neurological Surgery
Phone: 212-746-4998
  • Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery
Phone: 718-670-1837
  • Director, Neurosurgical Radiosurgery
  • Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2438
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
  • Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
  • Co-director, Weill Cornell Medicine CSF Leak Program
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist
  • Professor, Neurological Surgery
  • Director, Brain Metastases Program
  • Co-director, William Rhodes and Louise Tilzer-Rhodes Center for Glioblastoma
Phone: 212-746-1996 (Manhattan) / 718-780-3070 (Brooklyn)
  • Director of Neuro-oncology
  • Director, Brain Tumor Center, Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center
Phone: 646-962-2185
  • Hematologist/oncologist (Brooklyn)
Phone: (347) 694-5035
  • Assistant Attending Neurologist, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Assistant Professor of Neuro-Oncologist
Phone: 646-962-2185

Reviewed by Rohan Ramakrishna, M.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: December 2020

Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787