The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system (CNS). Brain
and spinal cord tumors are growths of abnormal cells in tissues of the
brain or spinal cord. Tumors that start in the brain are called primary
brain tumors. A tumor that starts in another part of the body and spreads
to the brain is called a metastatic brain tumor.
Brain and spinal cord tumors may be either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
Both benign and malignant tumors cause signs and symptoms and need treatment.
Benign brain and spinal cord tumors grow and press on nearby areas of
the brain but rarely spread into other parts of the brain. Malignant brain
and spinal cord tumors are likely to grow quickly and spread into other
parts of the brain.
There are many types of brain and spinal cord tumors. They form in different
cell types and different areas of the brain and spinal cord. The signs
and symptoms of brain and spinal cord tumors depend on where the tumor
forms, its size, how fast it is growing, and the age of the patient.
Brain and spinal cord tumors can occur in both adults and children. The
types of tumors that form and the way they are treated are different in
children and adults.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on many factors, including age,
tumor size, tumor type, and where the tumor is in the central nervous system.
Source: National Cancer Institute
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