Brain Cancer/Brain Tumor

What is brain cancer?

Brain cancer is caused by a brain tumor, a mass or growth of abnormal cells in your brain or close to your brain. When a tumor originates in the brain, it is called a primary brain tumor. Primary brain tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign brain tumors are not cancerous, though can still be dangerous. Malignant brain tumors are cancerous. They typically grow rapidly and invade surrounding healthy brain structures. When a tumor grows into or presses on an area of the brain, it may keep that part of the brain from working the way it should. Both benign and malignant brain tumors can cause symptoms and, sometimes, death. There are more than 120 types of primary brain tumors. Meningioma and glioma are the most common type of primary brain cancers. A brain tumor that starts in another part of the body and spreads to the brain is called a metastatic tumor. Metastatic brain tumors are more common than primary brain tumors. The types of cancer that commonly spread to the brain are melanoma and cancer of the breast, colon, and lung.
Risk factors
  • Age. Brain cancers are most common in older adults. However, a brain tumor can occur at any age. 
  • Exposure to radiation. People who have been exposed to a type of radiation called ionizing radiation have an increased risk of brain cancer. 
  • Family history. A small portion of brain tumors occur in people with a family history of brain tumors or a family history of genetic syndromes that increase the risk of brain tumors.
Along with a physical exam and patient’s history, diagnosing brain cancer usually involves:
  • A neurological examination
  • Scans of the brain, usually an MRI (margnetic resonance imaging), SPECT scan (single photon emission computed tomography), PET scan (positron emission tomography), or an angiogram.
  • A biopsy. If doctors think there may be a brain tumor, a biopsy may be done to remove a sample of tissue. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
Brain cancer treatment options depend on the type of brain tumor you have, as well as its size and location.
  • Cancers of the brain account for about 1.3% of all cancers and 2.2% of all cancer-related deaths among adults and children. 
  • About 5% of brain tumors are due to hereditary factors. 
about brain cancer

  • "Brain Tumor." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 May 2017.
  • Kieffer, Sara. "About Brain Tumors." Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center. Johns Hopkins Health System, 09 Oct. 2015. Web. 21 May 2017.
  • Kieffer, Sara. "Brain Tumor Grades: Biopsy and Prognosis." Brain Tumor Grading System | Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center. Johns Hopkins Health System, 09 Oct. 2015. Web. 21 May 2017.
  • "Cancer." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Oct. 2016. Web. 21 May 2017.
  • "Brain Cancer & Brain Tumor: Symptoms & More." Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic, 21 Aug. 2009. Web. 21 May 2017.


Brain awareness week is a global campaign to increase awareness on the progress and the benefits of brain research. Did you know that nearly 700,000 people in the United States are living with a primary brain and central nervous system tumor?
brain awareness week


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