Brain tumors are abnormal growths in the brain.
There are two main types:
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Cancer is when cells in the body split without control or order. They go on to form a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to harmful growths. These growths attack nearby tissues. They also spread to the brain or spinal cord. It's not clear what causes this. It’s likely a mix of genes and the environment.
Your chances are higher if you:
Symptoms depend on the tumor's size and where it is. A growing tumor will often have fluid buildup around it. Fluid puts pressure on the brain. Pressure may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. Your answers and a physical exam may point to a brain tumor. You may also have:
There are many types of tumors. Test results and a biopsy will help find the type. Knowing this helps with a care plan.
Care depends on the tumor type and where it is. Some methods may leave you with lasting problems.
Before starting care, you may need:
You may need:
Radiation therapy is the use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It may be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It may given by mouth, shots, or IV. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
Some drugs can be placed into the spinal cord.
This will help you get better faster. The length of time needed depends on the amount of damage. Therapy will help with:
There is no way to prevent a brain tumor since the cause is unknown.
American Brain Tumor Association
American Cancer Society
Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
Canadian Cancer Society
Astrocytoma and oligodendroglioma in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116413/Astrocytoma-and-oligodendroglioma-in-adults . Updated July 2, 2018. Accessed July 26, 2018.
Brain tumors. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Available at:
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Accessed July 26, 2018.
General information about adult primary central nervous (CNS) tumors. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/brain/hp/adult-brain-treatment-pdq. Updated January 31, 2018. Accessed July 25, 2018.
Glioblastoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116043/Glioblastoma . Updated July 2, 2018. Accessed July 26, 2018.
Overview of intracranial tumors. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/intracranial-and-spinal-tumors/overview-of-intracranial-tumors. Updated June 2018. Accessed July 26, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 7/26/2018