A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain. Brain tumors can be benign, with no cancer cells, or malignant, with cancer cells that grow quickly. Some are primary brain tumors, which start in the brain. Others are metastatic, and they start somewhere else in the body and move to the brain.
Brain tumors can cause many symptoms. Some of the most common are
- Headaches, often in the morning
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in your ability to talk, hear, or see
- Problems with balance or walking
- Problems with thinking or memory
- Feeling weak or sleepy
- Changes in your mood or behavior
Doctors diagnose brain tumors by doing a neurologic exam and tests including an MRI, CT scan, and biopsy. Treatment options include watchful waiting, surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells. Many people get a combination of treatments.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
- Adult Central Nervous System Tumors Treatment (PDQ®)-Patient Version (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Adults (American Cancer Society)
- Brain and Spinal Tumors (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary Also in Spanish
- Brain and Spinal Tumors: Hope through Research (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- Understanding Brain Tumors (National Brain Tumor Society)
- Signs & Symptoms (of Brain Tumors) (American Brain Tumor Association)
- Spotlight on Brain Tumors: Do You Know the Symptoms? Also in Spanish
Diagnosis and Tests
- Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Analysis (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Computed Tomography (CT) -- Head (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) -- Head (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish
- Magnetic Resonance, Functional (fMRI) -- Brain (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Newly Diagnosed (Brain Tumor) (American Brain Tumor Association)
- Find a Support Group (Brain Tumor) (American Brain Tumor Association)
- Genetics Home Reference: encephalocraniocutaneous lipomatosis (National Library of Medicine)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Decreased let-7b is associated with poor prognosis in glioma.
- Article: Immune Phenotype Correlates With Survival in Patients With GBM Treated With...
- Article: Clinical predictors of radiation-induced lymphopenia in patients receiving chemoradiation for glioblastoma:...
- Brain Tumors -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- American Brain Tumor Association
- American Cancer Society
- Find a Cancer Doctor (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- National Cancer Institute Also in Spanish
- NCI Designated Cancer Centers (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Organizations That Offer Support Services (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish