Dizziness by itself is not a common symptom of a brain tumor. Most cases of dizziness are related to an inner ear problem, anemia, dehydration or taking certain medications. Sometimes, being anxious or depressed can cause dizziness as well.
While a brain tumor isn’t likely to be a direct cause of dizziness, some tumors can trigger headaches and bouts of nausea and vomiting that may be associated with a dizzy feeling. This is especially true if an individual experiences frequent vomiting and becomes dehydrated. Less commonly, tumors that develop in the cerebellum—the part of the brain that controls movement—may cause vertigo, a condition characterized by balance problems and room-spinning sensations.
When to see a doctor for dizziness
There is a wide array of factors that can cause dizziness, and while most are non-life-threatening issues, it’s always a good idea to speak with your primary care physician if your symptoms persist or disrupt your quality of life. It is particularly important to call 911 or seek immediate medical care if dizziness is accompanied by:
- Chest pain
- Fast heartbeat
- Double vision
- A sudden, sharp headache
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty walking
- Slurred speech
- Numbness in the face or extremities
- A sudden change in hearing
- Frequent vomiting
Brain tumor diagnostics at Moffitt
Moffitt Cancer Center should not be your first stop if you are feeling dizzy. However, if your primary care physician suggests that you speak with a neuro -oncologist or specialist, you can turn to Moffitt for the advanced diagnostic services you need. The multispecialty team of experts in our Neuro-Oncology Program provides a full spectrum of imaging tests and biopsy procedures to confirm or rule out a brain tumor diagnosis. Our high-volume cancer center is also known for leading-edge brain cancer treatments, research initiatives and clinical trials.
As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt has all areas of treatment available in a single location, as well as a robust clinical trials program featuring innovative therapy options that are not yet widely available.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Michael Vogelbaum, Program Leader, Department of Neuro-Oncology.