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Differential Diagnosis



Brain Tumor

Studies have shown that the diagnosis of an intracranial brain tumor is generally delayed because the signs and symptoms can be non-specific.

Signs and symptoms include headaches, visual disturbance, vomiting, seizures, cranial nerve palsies, ataxia and changes in behavior and school performance.

Brain tumors commonly cause headaches which are often:

  • worse first thing in the morning
  • are associated with vomiting
  • occur during the night and awaken the child
  • become increasingly severe and associated with distress

A significant proportion of children with brain tumors will develop progressive neurologic signs and symptoms within a few months.

Differential Diagnosis of an intracranial mass:


Infection Cerebral abscess
Parasitic infection - trichinosis
Traumatic Injury Subdural hematoma





Primary Brain Tumor Pathology

Secondary tumor - metastatic from another site


This Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda website has a great program to study the differential diagnosis of any brain lesion by location:

Brain Lesion Locator™: Differential Diagnosis by Location

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