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Associate Professor Ng ​​Wai Hoe, Senior Consultant and Head of the Department of Neurosurge​ry at the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), a member of the SingHealth ​group shares on the symptoms of brain tumour.


Whether a tumour is benign or malignant, it can affect the normal functioning of the brain. Not all tumours present in the same way. Some don’t display symptoms initially, while others have symptoms that develop gradually.

Common brain tumour symptoms include:

  • A change in headache pattern, with headaches becoming more frequent and severe, especially in the morning
  • Blurring or vision abnormalities
  • Unexplained nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness or loss of limb sensation and movement
  • Difficulty with walking and balance
  • New seizures
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Changes in memory, concentration, alertness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Hearing problems

The symptoms of a brain tumour are persistent and progressive.

“Many brain tumour symptoms can be caused by other illnesses too. It is therefore important to see a doctor if you have symptoms that persist or are bothersome,” says A/Prof Ng.


A primary tumour can develop in the cells and membranes of the brain, the cranial nerves, pituitary gland or pineal gland. The most common types of primary brain tumours are:

  • Glioma: A glioma develops from the glial cells which keep the nerves healthy. Astrocytic tumours are the most common type of glioma.
  • Meningeal tumour or meningioma:This type of cancer forms in the meninges or membranes that cover the brain.
  • Medulloblastoma: This is a common type of malignant brain tumour in children. It usually develops in the cerebellum region of the brain.

Other types of brain tumours include pineal region tumour, acoustic neuroma and pituitary tumour.​

Diagnosing Brain Tumour

Brain tumours are diagnosed based on various exams and tests, su​ch as computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). A biopsy, in which a small tissue sample is taken, is carried out to determine if the tumour is benign or malignant. A malignant tumour means the patient has brain cancer.​​​

Read on for the t​reatment options​ available at NNI.


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