Loss of taste and smell because of a brain tumour
Although it’s rare, loss of taste and smell can be linked with brain tumours in certain parts of the brain.
Loss of taste and smell is something that’s been spoken about a lot in the last couple of years, as it’s a key symptom of coronavirus (COVID-19) and one that can last for weeks or months in some cases.
But, because of this, it’s important to know whether loss of taste and smell could also be the result of a brain tumour. And, if so, what symptoms should you look out for?
On this page, we’ll cover:
- Is loss of taste and smell a symptom of a brain tumour?
- Is my loss of taste and smell a brain tumour?
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Is loss of taste and smell a symptom of a brain tumour?
Loss of taste and smell may be connected with other health conditions, but, although it’s rare, it could be linked to a brain tumour in certain parts of the brain.
- a brain tumour in the frontal lobe could lead to loss of smell (as well as other symptoms, such as, difficulty with speaking, concentrating or learning new information)
- a brain tumour in the temporal lobe could lead to sensations of strange smells (as well as other symptoms, such as, difficulty with hearing, speaking and memory loss)
- a brain tumour in the parietal lobe could lead to difficulty bringing together information from your senses, including smell and taste (as well as other symptoms, such as, difficulty recognising faces or objects and coordinating movements).
It’s also worth noting that, although not technically a brain tumour, an olfactory neuroblastoma (also called a esthesioneuroblastoma) can decrease the sense of smell, create nosebleeds, lead to watery eyes, and other symptoms.
While it begins in the nasal cavity, this type of tumour can spread to the brain. But, this type of tumour is very rare.
Is my loss of taste and smell a brain tumour?
If you have lost your taste or smell, it’s important that you don’t panic. Brain tumours are rare, and other medical issues can lead to a loss of taste and smell.
However, if you’re worried and a symptom such as loss of taste and smell persists or if you have more than one symptom of a brain tumour then:
- Talk to your doctor
GP appointments are usually quite short, so make sure you find out how to best prepare for your appointment.
- Get an eye test
If your symptoms are limited to changes in vision and/or headaches, get your eyes tested by an optician before seeing your GP.
- Go to A&E
If the symptoms are sudden or severe, you should go to your emergency department or call 999.
Find out more about the symptoms of a brain tumour in adults in the full fact sheet.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
Although brain tumours are rare, if you or a loved one are experiencing two or more of the signs and symptoms it’s important that you speak to your doctor to rule out a brain tumour.
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