Take a more active role in decisions that affect your life. Discover your options.
The term brain tumor is a generic one, describing a wide variety of entities. These span the range of biological behavior, from benign to malignant.
“Brain tumor” is a general term that includes any tumor within the skull: tumors that are within the substance of the brain and those that are outside the substance of the brain. In addition, there are tumors that start within the skull and tumors that come from someplace else (like the lung or breast, for example) and metastasize to the brain or the coverings of the brain.
In general, brain tumors are classified according to the cell of origin. Knowing the cell type (or histology) will give some indication of the biologic behavior of the tumor and its prognosis.
Unfortunately, no single classification scheme is universally agreed upon. Additionally, the location of the tumor has some bearing on symptoms and neurologic deficits produced, as well as the safety of removing it (if this is possible and in the best interest of the patient). In practice, both location and histology are important.
Browse this section for an in-depth look at major tumor types, a list of symptoms and treatment methods.
Determining physical aspects of behaviors of tumor cells is critical in diagnosing a patient’s cancer type and progression.
Tumors may have many different characteristics beyond the classification of benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).