What Are Temporal Lobe Tumors?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 29 June 2019
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Temporal lobe tumors are abnormal masses that develop in the temporal lobe of the brain and may or not be cancerous. The temporal lobe is responsible for functions such as speech, memory, and emotion. Some of the most common symptoms of these tumors include seizures, headaches, and difficulty speaking or understanding the spoken word. Treatment depends on the exact size and location of the tumor as well as the overall health of the patient and may include surgical removal, chemotherapy, or radiation. Questions or concerns regarding temporal lobe tumors should be discussed with a primary care physician or neurologist.

The temporal lobe is found in the lower region of the brain, and tumors found in this location may cause changes affecting emotional regulation, memory, or the ability to verbally communicate. Frequent or unusual headaches are often the first indicators of these tumors. Some people may start having seizures or lapses in memory. These memory lapses may develop slowly and begin with trouble finding a word during a conversation. In severe cases, complete amnesia may develop.


Speech problems are frequently caused by this condition. The affected person may forget the meaning of certain words or may understand the words but have trouble actually speaking. Severe temporal lobe damage may cause a complete inability to communicate verbally. Additional symptoms of temporal lobe tumors may include nausea, vomiting, and mood swings. Personality changes are common, and the patient may become irritable or combative due to confusion concerning the various changes associated with the tumor.

Treatment for these tumors depends on a number of factors, including the size and location of the tumor and whether it is cancerous. A small sample of the tumor may be surgically removed in order to determine if cancer cells are present, although when surgery is an option, the entire tumor is removed whenever possible. If the tumor is completely evacuated and determined to be benign, or non-cancerous, no further treatment is usually necessary.

Tumors that are inoperable or determined to be malignant may require additional treatment methods. Chemotherapy involves the use of medications containing strong chemicals and is designed to kill cancer cells and slow the progression of the disease. Radiation therapy serves a similar purpose but uses radioactive materials instead of chemicals. More aggressive tumors may be treated with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy. The supervising physician can work with the patient to create an individualized treatment plan based on individual needs and preferences.


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