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Facts About Brain Tumors

The brain is the center of thought, memory, emotion, speech, sensation and motor function. The spinal cord and special nerves in the head called cranial nerves carry and receive messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

  • The Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States estimates that more than 612,000 persons are living with a diagnosis of primary brain and central nervous system tumors in the United States.
  • An estimated 69,720 new cases of primary benign and malignant brain and central nervous system tumors are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2013.
  • There are two general types of brain tumors:
    • Primary - a tumor that starts in the brain. Primary brain tumors can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Primary tumors in the brain or spinal cord rarely spread to distant organs.
    • Metastatic - a tumor caused by cancer elsewhere in the body that spreads to the brain. Metastatic brain tumors are always cancerous. Brain tumors cause damage because, as they grow, they can interfere with surrounding cells that serve vital roles in our everyday life.

For information about radiation treatment for metastatic brain tumors visit Radiation Therapy for Brain Metastases.

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