The brain is part of the central nervous system, which controls nerve function throughout the body. A brain tumor is an uncontrolled growth of tissue within the brain or central spine that can affect proper brain function. A primary tumor starts in the brain, while a secondary (or metastatic) tumor begins elsewhere in the body and spreads to the central nervous system.
There are many kinds of primary brain tumors. Some are found to be benign, or non-cancerous and may be slow developing and do not spread. Malignant tumors, those with cancerous cells, do not have defined borders, grow rapidly and can spread to other parts of the brain or spine. Based upon World Health Organization classification, there are more than 120 different types of primary brain and central nervous system tumors.
Screening and Treatment
Screening is not routine for people without symptoms. Depending on the location of the tumor, symptoms will vary. The most common symptoms are vision problems, headaches, seizures, personality changes, short-term memory loss or problems with coordination, speech or comprehension. A brain scan, or MRI, is often the first step to diagnosis, followed by a biopsy or surgery. Often there is a role for coordinated multidisciplinary care between neurosurgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology to provide you an individualized treatment plan.
Through close partnerships with Boston-based hospitals and the National Cancer Institute, we are able to offer cancer clinical trials designed to identify safer and more effective approaches to prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment of your cancer. Learn more about the current clinical trials available here
The Cancer Center at Lowell General Hospital is committed to supporting your mental and physical health through every step of diagnosis, treatment and recovery. From dedicated physicians and nurses to social workers and support groups, the Cancer Center at Lowell General Hospital has several resources for you and your family, all close to home. Learn more about our resources to support your care here