- Adult brain tumor facts*
- What are adult brain tumors?
- What are metastatic brain tumors?
- What are the symptoms of an adult brain tumor?
- What tests are used to find and diagnose adult brain tumors?
- What is the grade of a tumor?
- What are the types of adult brain tumors?
- How are adult brain tumors treated?
- Three types of standard treatment are used.
- Other types of treatment that are being tested in clinical trials
- Treatment options by type of adult brain tumor
- Where can a patient get more information about adult brain tumors?
What are adult brain tumors?
Adult brain tumors are diseases in which cancer (malignant) cells begin to grow in the tissues of the brain. The brain controls memory and learning, senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch), and emotion. It also controls other parts of the body, including muscles, organs, and blood vessels. Tumors that start in the brain are called primary brain tumors.
What are metastatic brain tumors?
Often, tumors found in the brain have started somewhere else in the body and spread (metastasized) to the brain. These are called metastatic brain tumors.
What are the symptoms of an adult brain tumor?
A doctor should be seen if the following symptoms appear:
- Frequent headaches.
- Loss of appetite.
- Changes in mood and personality.
- Changes in ability to think and learn.
What tests are used to find and diagnose adult brain tumors?
Tests that examine the brain and spinal cord are used to detect (find) adult brain tumor. The following tests and procedures may be used:
- CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an X-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of the brain and spinal cord. A substance called gadolinium is injected into the patient through a vein. The gadolinium collects around the cancer cells so they show up brighter in the picture. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
Adult brain tumor is diagnosed and removed in surgery. If a brain tumor is suspected, a biopsy is done by removing part of the skull and using a needle to remove a sample of the brain tissue. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, the doctor will remove as much tumor as safely possible during the same surgery. An MRI may then be done to determine if any cancer cells remain after surgery. Tests are also done to find out the grade of the tumor.