Brain tumors are lumps of tissue caused by abnormal and/or uncontrolled cell growth. The many types of brain tumors are divided into two categories: primary tumors and metastatic tumors.
Primary tumors start in the brain cells, the brain membranes, the pineal or pituitary glands or in the cranial nerves. Primary tumors can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Both types can cause severe problems.
Metastatic tumors form in another part of the body, often the breast or lungs, and then spread to the brain. Secondary tumors are cancerous and most commonly strike adults.
Because the brain is such a complex organ, brain tumors can affect the mind and body in many different ways. They can cause physical problems, such as severe headaches, nausea, or seizures, and they can cause behavioral changes, such as confusion and impulsiveness. The symptoms depend on the type, size and location of the tumor.
Brain tumors can be treated with chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Treatment options depend on the type, size and location of the tumor and the age, size and condition of the patient.