Brain tumour symptoms by location

Symptoms of a brain tumour can vary depending on the tumour's location.

The brain is divided into two halves called the right and left hemispheres. The brain can also be divided into four areas known as lobes (frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital) plus two other important areas called the brain stem and the cerebellum.

The presence of a brain tumour can cause damage to healthy brain tissue, disrupting the normal function of that area.

Remember that many of the symptoms due to raised intracranial pressure (ICP) can be caused by other medical conditions. So if you are experiencing these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have a brain tumour.

Frontal lobe

A tumour located in the frontal lobe may cause difficulty with:

  • Concentrating
  • Speaking and communicating
  • Controlling emotions and behaviour
  • Learning new information
  • Lack of inhibition
    (making inappropriate comments during conversation or laughing in inappropriate situations)
  • Weakness on the opposite side of the body from the tumour
  • Loss of smell.

Temporal Lobe

A tumour located in the temporal lobe may cause difficulty with:

  • Hearing
  • Speaking
  • Identifying and categorising objects
  • Learning new information
  • Correctly identifying emotions in others
  • Memory loss
  • Seizures or blackouts
  • Sensations of strange smells

Parietal lobe

A tumour located in the parietal lobe may cause difficulty with:

  • Bringing together information from your different senses
    (touch, vision, hearing, smell, taste) and making sense of it
  • Co-ordinating movements
  • Spatial awareness e.g. judging distances, hand-eye co-ordination
  • Speaking, understanding words, writing and reading
  • Numbness on the opposite side of the body from the tumour

Occipital lobe

A tumour located in the occipital lobe may cause:

  • Difficulty with vision e.g. identifying objects or colours
  • Loss of vision on one side


A tumour located in the cerebellum may cause:

  • Difficulty with balance
  • Loss of co-ordination
  • Difficulty walking and speaking
  • Flickering of the eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Problems with dexterity (skills in using your hands)

Brain stem

A tumour located in the brain stem may cause:

  • Unsteadiness and difficulty walking
  • Facial weakness
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing

Learn more about the brain and brain tumours

What is a brain tumour?

Learn about brain tumour causes, grades and treatments.

The human brain

Explore the different areas of the brain that can be affected by tumours.

Brain cells

Learn about the different types of brain cells and the tumour types that affect them

Page last reviewed: 05/2014
Next review due: currently under review

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