Brain Tumor Symptoms and Grades

Patients can experience a variety of symptoms. Symptoms do not usually appear until the tumor grows to the point of damaging or destroying brain tissue.

Possible Symptoms

  • Headaches, which become increasingly painful
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sleepiness or lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Loss of balance or dizziness
  • Changes in personality
  • Sudden loss of vision
  • Memory loss
  • Speech issues
  • Sensory changes
  • Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body

Tumor Grade Helps Predict Its Likely Behavior

Grades are the manner in which tumors are grouped. The grade of a tumor refers to the way cells look under a microscope and helps to predict its likely behavior.

  • Grade I — tissue is benign and cells look nearly normal and grow slowly
  • Grade II — tissue is malignant and cells are not normal, assuming a different look than those of a grade I tumor
  • Grade III — malignant tissue has cells that are considerably different than normal cells and tend to grow rapidly
  • Grade IV — malignant tissue includes cells that are most abnormal and tend to grow quickly

Low-grade tumors can become high-grade tumors. The change to a high-grade tumor occurs more often in adults than in children.

More information is available at the National Cancer Institute fact sheet, Staging and Tumor Grade.