Temporal lobe tumor

Updated July 19, 2017

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 35,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year. Although not all temporal lobe tumours are cancerous that does not mean they are not serious. Temporal lobe tumours can damage brain tissue and cause serious symptoms. Temporal lobe tumours can cause permanent brain damage or death.

Temporal Lobe

Your cerebral hemispheres--the two large upper sections of your brain--are divided into four parts. One of these parts is the temporal lobe. The temporal lobe is responsible for helping you understand sounds and spoken words. This lobe also controls your emotions, memory, depth perception and sense of time.

Benign Tumors

Benign temporal lobe tumours do not contain any cancer cells. Most benign temporal lobe tumours can be removed through surgery and are not likely to return. Benign temporal lobe tumours usually have an easily identified edge or border. These tumours do not spread into or damage the surrounding healthy lobe cells. Although benign temporal lobe tumours are not cancerous, they can still be life-threatening. If the tumour grows too large it can crowd the surrounding brain tissue. Benign temporal lobe tumours can cause serious swelling in the brain and seizures.

Malignant Tumors

Malignant temporal lobe tumours contain cancer cells. These temporal lobe tumours will grow rapidly and invade nearby healthy brain cells. Malignant temporal lobe tumours can spread to other areas in the brain or to other organs. This happens when the cancer cells break away from the temporal lobe tumour and enter your blood stream or lymphatic system. The cells then travel to other locations and begin to grow new tumours. Malignant temporal lobe tumours require an aggressive treatment plan.


The symptoms you may experience depend on the size and location of the tumour in your brain. Temporal lobe tumours most commonly cause seizures, convulsions, numbness in your arms or legs and problems with vision or hearing.Other possible symptoms of temporal lobe tumours include headaches that are worse in the morning, nausea, vomiting and changes in speech. You also may experience problems with balance and walking, memory, changes to your mood, personality or ability to concentrate.


In order to diagnosis your tumour, your doctor will ask you to complete several diagnostic tests. Physical and neurological exams will begin the process. You also may need to have X-rays taken or go for a CT scan or MRI. A sample of the tumour may need to be removed through a biopsy. A biopsy will allow doctors to examine the tumour cells under a microscope to determine malignancy. Your doctors will attempt to determine where the tumour is located, if this is the primary tumour site and if the tumour is malignant.


Treatment will depend on if the tumour is cancerous and if it is the primary tumour. Common treatments for temporal lobe tumours include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. You may undergo a combination of one or more of the treatment options. Non-cancerous temporal lobe tumours are less likely to need chemotherapy or radiation. Discuss all your treatment options with your doctor. Understand your treatment plan and prepare for side effects.

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About the Author

Mary Anne Ott is a cancer patient navigator in Ohio. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Wright State University. Ott worked in the banking industry for six years as a personal banker and assistant branch manager before pursuing a career in health care.