Written by Dr. Sangamithra, MBBS | 

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Ramya Ananthakrishnan, MD on Apr 25, 2018


The brain is made up of many different types of cells. Brain cancers occur when one type of cell transforms from its normal characteristics and grows and multiplies in an abnormal way.

Primary tumor:

Brain tumors that result from this transformation and abnormal growth of brain cells are called primary brain tumors because they originate in the brain. Usually they are named after the part of the brain or the type of brain cell from which they arise. Many of them are benign and can be successfully removed. Malignant primary brain tumors cause problems by spreading into the normal brain tissue thereby increasing the pressure and causing damage to the surrounding areas of the brain. These tumors rarely spread outside the brain to other parts of the body. The most common primary brain tumors are gliomas. They begin in glial cells. There are many types of gliomas:

Astrocytoma: The tumor arises from star-shaped glial cells called astrocytes. In adults, astrocytomas most often arise in the cerebrum. In children, they occur in the brain stem, the cerebrum, and the cerebellum.

Brain stem glioma: The tumor occurs in the lowest part of the brain. Brain stem gliomas most often are diagnosed in young children and middle-aged adults.

Ependymoma: The tumor arises from cells that line the ventricles or the central canal of the spinal cord. They are most commonly found in children and young adults.

Oligodendroglioma: This rare tumor arises from cells that make the fatty substance that covers and protects the nerves. These tumors usually occur in the cerebrum. They grow slowly and usually do not spread into surrounding brain tissue. They are most common in middle-aged adults.

Other primary tumors that do not begin in the glial cells are

Medulloblastomaor primitive neuroectodermal tumor: This tumor usually arises in the cerebellum. Rarely do these tumors spread outside the brain. It is the most common brain tumor in children.

Meningioma: This tumor arises in the meninges and grows slowly. Meningioma are benign and do not spread from their original site. Malignant meningiomas are very rare.

Schwannoma: This tumor arises from the Schwann cells. These cells line the nerve that controls balance and hearing. This nerve is in the inner ear. The tumor is also called an acoustic neuroma. It occurs most often in adults. They are more common in people who have a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis type 2.

Craniopharyngioma: The tumor grows at the base of the brain, near the pituitary gland. This type of tumor most often occurs in children.

Haemangioblastoma: This is a rare type of tumor that develops from cells that line the blood vessels. They are benign and grow slowly

Pituitary tumors: These types of tumors develop in the Pituitary gland. They are benign and are called pituitary adenomas.

Germ cell tumor of the brain: The tumor arises from a germ cell. Most germ cell tumors that arise in the brain occur in people younger than 30 years. The most common type of germ cell tumor of the brain is a germinoma.

Pineal region tumor: This rare brain tumor arises in or near the pineal gland. The pineal gland is located between the cerebrum and the cerebellum. The most common tumors are germinomas, teratomas, pineocytomas and pineoblastomas.

Secondary tumors:

Secondary brain tumors or metastatic tumor occur when cancer cells from other parts of the body, such as the lung, breast, skin, kidney, colon spread to the brain. These tumor cells reach the brain via the blood-stream. Secondary tumors in the brain are far more common than primary brain tumors. About 25% of tumors elsewhere in the body metastasize to the brain.

Childhood brain tumor:

Brain tumors are the most common solid tumors that occur in children. Children of any age may be affected. Boys are affected more often than girls. Two types of brain cancers that are more common in children than in adults are medulloblastoma and ependymoma. Treatment and chance of recovery depend on the type of tumor, its location within the brain, the extent to which it has spread, and the child's age and general health.

Brain Tumor - References


zzshell Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Mother in Law just had part of her brain tumor removed about a month ago. Since then she can not hold a normal conversation. It is like random things about her past and childhood. But its the same story everyday throughout the entire day. Is this a permanent side effect or will this fade as she gets better...

palomita_2015 Thursday, April 11, 2013

How do you know if you have a brain tumor or if its a normal thing at the age of 14?

BigPete Saturday, August 18, 2012

My brother had a tumor removed a year ago. He seems to be doing fine some days and not so good other. After reading comments that other people have left, my brother is going through the same thing except he is seeing several doctors and everyone of them is treating him for something different, depression, steroids, thyroid,headache, parcason, ect. These are the things he is telling me?? I not so convince on all the drugs he is on but I'm not a doc. Is anyone else on a lot of drug?? Thanks

LovingU Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I had a tumor of cancer removed from my brain 3 yrs ago and I have so many doctors and I take a lot of medications because I have all of them problems and fibromyigia then some. I don't like it all because i'm only 24 and it seems like I'm about 50. I know it seems unreal to you but it is just about ture.

Wongete Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hi, my brother has a brain tumor. He lives in Ethipoia. The doctors said the tumor is 7 inch long and he is in a critical condition. I am working on the process to bring him here and to get a better help. However, after the doctors told him the side effects after the surgery, my brother refused to have the surgery. Please give me your comments on how I can help him to decide to have the surgery.

gdseema23 Monday, August 13, 2012

My younger cousin aged 18 yrs suffering from the brain tumor from last one year.Currently he is admitted into Inlacs Budrani hospital,Pune.He has diagnosed with the brain tumor situated just above the neck at the back of forehead. The doctors started the radiation therapy one year ago from 1st sept to 30 th oct 2011. After 5/6 months his brain got swelled beacause of the radation effect for which the doctors did a surgery in which they removed some part of skull so that the swelled brain should fit in the space. After 2/3 months again he is now suffering in which he can't swallow any food even his saliva so the doctors now have placed a tube inside his throat so that he can now survive on the liquid directly poured into it. Pls advice me some further medicatgion as we are uncertain about his health.He is again now admitted in the hospital and is under observation.

kuldeep13984 Friday, June 22, 2012

my mother had brain surgery almost 2 month ago and she is still suffering from pain and dizziness sometime she not even recognize us. her one hand and leg not working now and now week ago she fall down on the floor injured herself. i am really worried i don't know what to do doc says it takes time to recover i don't know how much

Clozano88 Sunday, July 15, 2012

My mom had her tumor removed 3years ago an she still hasn't fully recovered. The doctor and a naturalist say that the tingly sensation On her surgery side will not stop until around 5 yrs cause that's when the Anastasia completely leave her brain. Just today she blanked out at the for a good 10 min and was mummbling jibber ish…I believe that everyone has different side effect and you just got to help her out. Just take it day by day cause it's a long healing process.

YonnaCMA Thursday, July 26, 2012

My mom also had brain surgery. She has had 2 actually. But she is doin fine for teh most part. She still has a little bit of short term meomory loss, and she may still get servere headaches, but for the most part she is doing very well. So like she said just take it one day at a time and also prayer works!

diannaw04 Thursday, November 15, 2012

My mother was diagnosed with the worst case of glioma and she also had surgery to remove the tumor. After surgery the recuperation was brutal since she was dizzy all the time ans nauseas...She also fell a couple of time out of the bed and her last fall brought her to the emergency room and after 2 weeks of the fall she died.

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