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Brain tumors produce a variety of symptoms, ranging from headache to seizure. They are great mimics of other neurologic disorders. Symptoms occur if the tumor directly damages the nerves in the brain or central nervous system or if its growth imposes pressure on the brain. Symptoms may be subtle and gradually become worse or they may occur very rapidly.
Headache is probably the most common symptom of a brain tumor. However, headaches are very common and the vast majority are not caused by brain tumors. [For more information on headaches, see In-Depth Reports #97: Migraine headache; #11: Tension headache; and #99: Cluster headache.]
Headaches caused by brain tumors vary depending on the location, and many other factors. Headache symptoms associated with brain tumors may include:
Gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, are also common.
About half of patients with brain tumors experience a seizure. It is a common presenting symptom of brain tumors in older adults. (However, fewer than 10% of first seizures are caused by a brain tumor.)
Sometimes the only symptoms of brain tumors are mental changes, which may include:
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