Brain Cancer

A brain tumour is a mass of unnecessary and abnormal cells growing in the brain. A tumour that starts in the brain is a primary brain tumour, which in turn may be grouped into "benign" and "malignant" tumours.

However, cancer cells which begin growing elsewhere in the body and then travel to the brain, form metastatic brain tumours. All metastatic brain tumours are malignant since they begin as cancer elsewhere in the body.

Benign brain tumours can cause problems by pressing on and damaging the surrounding brain tissue; however, they can often be successfully removed.

Malignant brain tumours, or brain cancers, vary widely both in the way they grow and the way they respond to treatment. Some are neatly contained within a capsule (encapsulated) and relatively easy to remove. Others have long, thin filaments spreading through the brain, like roots of a plant.

Many malignant tumours in the brain are secondary cancers. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether yours is a primary or secondary tumour. It is rare for primary brain tumours to spread to other parts of the body.

Brain tumours are generally named for the tissue in which they arise. Names of different types of brain tumours include: gliomas (astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, ependymomas and mixed cell type gliomas), meningiomas, medulloblastomas, chordomas glioblastomas and central nervous system lymphomas

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