Brain tumor (cancer)

Head | Oncology | Brain tumor (cancer) (Disease)


A brain tumor, is an intracranial solid neoplasm, an abnormal growth of cells within the brain or the central spinal canal. Some brain tumors are noncancerous (benign), and some brain tumors are cancerous (malignant).

Causes and Risk factors

Primary brain tumors can start from brain cells, the membranes around the brain (meninges), nerves, or glands. Primary brain tumors begin when normal cells acquire errors called mutations in their DNA. The result is a mass of abnormal cells, which forms a tumor. Examples include: Acoustic neuroma; Astrocytoma, also known as glioma, Ependymoma; Germ cell tumor; Meningioma; Oligodendroglioma; Pineoblastoma. Cancer can begin in other parts of your body and spread to your brain causing secondary, or metastatic, brain tumors.

Secondary brain tumors most often occur in people who have a history of cancer. Any cancer can spread to the brain, but the most common types include: breast cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer and melanoma.

Risk factors include: age, race, exposure to radiation, chemical exposure and family history.

Some tumors may not cause symptoms until they are very large. Then they can quickly damage a persons health. Other tumors have symptoms that develop slowly. They can be: headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe; difficulty with balance; speech difficulties; confusion in everyday matters; personality or behavior changes; unexplained nausea or vomiting; vision problems, such as blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision; seizures, especially in someone who doesnt have a history of seizures.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The following tests may confirm the presence of a brain tumor and find its location: CT scan of the head, EEG, MRI of the head and biopsy of the tissue.

Treatment for a brain tumor depends on the type, size and location of the tumor; includes: radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery.


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