What is a Brain Tumor?
A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain or central spine that can disrupt proper brain function. Doctors refer to a tumor based on where the tumor cells originated, and whether they are cancerous (malignant) or not (benign).
- Benign: The least aggressive type of brain tumor is often called a benign brain tumor. They originate from cells within or surrounding the brain, do not contain cancer cells, grow slowly, and typically have clear borders that do not spread into other tissue.
- Malignant: Malignant brain tumors contain cancer cells and often do not have clear borders. They are considered to be life threatening because they grow rapidly and invade surrounding brain tissue.
- Primary: Tumors that start in cells of the brain are called primary brain tumors. Primary brain tumors may spread to other parts of the brain or to the spine, but rarely to other organs.
- Metastatic: Metastatic or secondary brain tumors begin in another part of the body and then spread to the brain. These tumors are more common than primary brain tumors and are named by the location in which they begin.
There are over 120 types of brain and central nervous system tumors. Brain and spinal cord tumors are different for everyone.
They form in different areas, develop from different cell types, and may have different treatment options.