Brain Cancer Facts

What is a Brain Tumour?

Put simply, a brain tumour is a mass of unnecessary and abnormal cells growing in the brain.

There are two basic types of brain tumours:

  • Primary Brain Tumours: Primary brain tumours start in the brain and almost never spread to other parts of the body.
  • Metastatic Brain Tumours: Secondary tumours (or metastatic brain tumours) are caused by cancers that started in other parts of the body.

Types of Brain Tumours

There are more than 40 major types of brain tumours, which are grouped into two main types: benign or malignant.

Benign: slow growing and unlikely to spread, common types are meningiomas, neuromas, pituitary tumours, and craniopharyngiomas.

Malignant: cancerous and able to spread into other parts of the brain or spinal cord. Common types include astrocytoma’s, oligodendrogliomas, glioblastomas, and mixed gliomas.

Brain Cancer Treatments

Brain tumours may be treated with surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy, or a combination of these treatments.

Depending on the tumour it can be removed completely by surgery (craniotomy). Also, where appropriate post-operative radiotherapy improves local control and survival.

With some malignant brain tumours, temozolomide may be added during or after radiotherapy to further improve outcomes.

Where a tumour cannot be removed, the aim of treatment is to slow growth and relieve symptoms by shrinking the tumour and any swelling around it. Treatment options include radiotherapy with or without temozolomide.