Brain Cancer Overview

Brain and spinal cord (also known as the central nervous system, or CNS) tumors are masses of abnormal cells in the brain or spinal cord that have grown out of control. These tumors can either be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Unlike cancers that start in other parts of the body, tumors which start in the brain or spinal cord rarely spread to distant organs. They can, however, travel short distances within the brain, causing damage to healthy tissue. Therefore, even benign tumors often need to be removed or destroyed.

Signs and Symptoms of Brain Tumors

Signs and symptoms of brain cancer can be either general or specific and depend on:

  • Where the tumor forms in the brain or spinal cord
  • The size of the tumor
  • What the affected part of the brain controls

Additional Cancer Resources