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What are the tumor grades and types?

When most normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when the body doesn't need them, and old or damaged cells don't die as they should. The buildup of extra cells often forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor.

Primary brain tumors can be benign or malignant:

Benign brain tumors do not contain cancer cells:

  • Usually, benign tumors can be removed, and they seldom grow back.
  • Benign brain tumors usually have an obvious border or edge. Cells from benign tumors rarely invade tissues around them. They don't spread to other parts of the body. However, benign tumors can press on sensitive areas of the brain and cause serious health problems.
  • Unlike benign tumors in most other parts of the body, benign brain tumors are sometimes life threatening.
  • Benign brain tumors may become malignant.

Malignant brain tumors (also called brain cancer) contain cancer cells:

  • Malignant brain tumors are generally more serious and often are a threat to life.
  • They are likely to grow rapidly and crowd or invade the nearby healthy brain tissue.
  • Cancer cells may break away from malignant brain tumors and spread to other parts of the brain or to the spinal cord. They rarely spread to other parts of the body.
Return to Brain Tumor (Symptoms, Signs, Types, Causes, Survival Rates)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Shirley, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: February 09

I have an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), and a benign pituitary tumor. It is inoperable due to possible rupture of AVM.

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Comment from: dardar, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 01

I had a large benign brain tumor 10 years ago. Then 2 years ago I had many seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. For at least 6 years now my feet are numb and now my ankles aches. The doctors say I have multiple sclerosis (MS) that shows in my brain. I am still waiting to see the doctor for MS and have another month to wait. I wish I knew what to take medicine-wise to ease my pains and fear of my lack of knowledge. So scary!

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Comment from: Joyce, Female (Patient) Published: April 01

I was diagnosed with brain cancer in Jan 2013. I was having trouble with my eyes shooting to the left and staying there for around 30 seconds. I was later told I had a mass the size of a walnut on my brain. I had surgery. The doctor told me I had stage IV brain cancer.

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