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Behaviour changes

Many children will show changes in behaviour on some occasions. These might be related to changes in their home or school life, developing into adolescence or ill health. 

When changes in behaviour are caused by a brain tumour, a child will usually have other symptoms. You should look out for these carefully.

When might behaviour changes be a sign of a brain tumour?

Behaviour changes related to a brain tumour are likely to happen often, over a period of days or weeks and in different settings, such as school, home, while playing or on a trip away.

The most common behaviour changes in children caused by a brain tumour are severe tiredness and reduced energy. This is sometimes called lethargy. Signs of lethargy include:

  • reduced activity levels
  • more time spent resting
  • loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
  • becoming tired more easily or quickly than they used to
  • struggling or progressing more slowly at nursery, school or college.

If you're worried about your child, make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. If they have two or more symptoms, you should request referral to a consultant as soon as possible.

If symptoms appear suddenly or are severe, visit A&E or call 999.

I think my child has a brain tumour, what should I do?

Brain tumours are rare, however, if you're worried, if a symptom persists or if your child has more than one of these symptoms then:

  • Talk to your doctor
    GP appointments are usually quite short, find out how to best prepare for your appointment
  • Get an eye test
    If your child's symptoms are limited to changes in vision and/or headaches, get their eyes tested by an optician before seeing your GP.