Kenneth R. Hirsch, MD
The cerebellum is located in the posterior fossa along with the fourth ventricle and brain stem. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of tumors arise in the posterior fossa, according to New York Presbyterian Hospital. The cerebellum controls intricate muscular coordination such as walking and speech in conjunction with the thalamus. Symptoms of a cerebellum brain tumor often affect these functions.
Headaches, Nausea and Vomiting
People with a brain tumor in the cerebellum often experience headaches, nausea and vomiting. As a tumor in the cerebellum grows, it blocks the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord causing hydrocephalus or increased fluid in the skull. This increased pressure will often cause a person to have headaches that come on suddenly and are worse in the morning. Some people may have a severe headache upon waking and feel better after vomiting, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. Headaches associated with a brain tumor do not tend to respond to normal headache treatments and often feel better as the day progresses. People with a brain tumor often note that headaches become more frequent as the tumor grows. This pressure commonly causes nausea and vomiting.
The cerebellum controls intricate muscular coordination. As the tumor grows, pressure can cause these functions to deteriorate. A person may become clumsy and uncoordinated, swaying and staggering when they walk.
Cranial Nerve Damage
The posterior fossa is a small space. As the tumor grows and fills the space it will damage nearby structures such as the cranial nerves. “The New York Times” Health Guide explains that when the cranial nerves are damaged, a person often experiences dilated pupils, loss of peripheral vision, blurred vision and eye deviations. People may experience facial muscle weakness, loss of feeling in part of the face, hearing loss and taste disturbances.