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Childhood Brain Cancer Symptoms

Brain cancer is a potentially deadly condition that can affect adults and children. It develops when a tumor forms in the brain or cancer from another part of the body metastasizes and moves to the brain. There are many signs and symptoms that appear when a child has brain cancer. These symptoms often depend on where the tumor is located.


Childhood Brain Cancer



A headache is one of the most common signs of brain cancer. The headaches may be present in the morning when the child wakes up and may worsen as the day goes on.

Headaches can begin very mild but may worsen with any kind of activity or exercise, or even a change in position, such as going from sitting to kneeling. Headaches from brain cancer may stand out as more painful and persistent than other headaches the child may have had.



Children with brain cancer will at times have a fever. The fever may always be present, or it may come and go. It can range from a low-grade fever to a higher, more concerning one. Fever may be accompanied by headache due to pressure changes occurring in the brain.


Vision and Hearing Problems

The American Brain Tumor Association says some cancerous tumors, such as in the cerebellopontine angle, can cause buzzing or ringing in the ears.

As the tumor grows, the child may suffer a complete loss of hearing, as well as numbness or weakness of the facial muscles. A tumor on the occipital lobe may cause vision disturbances. These can include a loss of the ability to read, or the child being unable to understand the words she is reading. Blindness can result from this type of cancer.


Personality and Behavior Changes

The National Library of Medicine reports that a child with brain cancer can display personality and behavior changes. A child may also suffer from confusion, become easily angered or have memory difficulties. These changes in personality can be caused by a tumor itself or by pressure changes in the brain. If a child exhibits behavior that seems odd or abnormal, consult a physician.



The Mayo Clinic reports that a child with brain cancer can develop various neurological symptoms. These can include loss of function in an appendage, difficulty walking, balance problems, difficulties with speech and seizures. Consult a physician immediately if one of these symptoms appears.


Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can be one of the most acute symptoms in a child with a brain tumor. Children with these symptoms commonly have a drastic weight loss. In addition, medication for these symptoms can cause drowsiness, and the child may have fatigue. Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of brain stem or thalamus tumors.

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