Both benign and malignant brain tumours affect approximately 35,000 Americans each year. Although not too many Americans will ever have a malignant tumor in the brain or spine (the rate is less than 1%), being diagnosed with brain cancer can be an unsettling and possibly distraught time in a person's life. What exactly is brain cancer? And what causes a brain cancer tumor?
What is a tumor?
Benign tumors are not usually life-threatening, and are more easily treatable than malignant tumours. Malignant tumours are considered cancer, as they originate from the epithelial tissue (skin, glands, intestines and brain). These tumours are made up of cells that either divide too rapidly when not needed, or are old cells that refuse to die. A malignant tumour can injure healthy tissue and spread to other parts of the body, or metastasize.
What is brain cancer?
Brain cancer refers to both brain and spinal cord tumors that are malignant, although most doctors refer to brain cancers as those that originate from the brain. These tumors may either originate from the brain (primary brain cancer) or from some other part of the body (metastatic brain cancer). Primary brain cancers do not often spread to other parts of the body, although this can happen. However, a malignant tumour in the brain poses numerous concerns, because a cancerous brain tumor can create complications like:
However, even benign tumours can place pressure on healthy parts of the brain. Just to name a few problems that brain cancers can pose, they can cause:
Although there is no conclusive evidence available about the relationship between certain factors and brain cancer, researchers are looking into causes of brain cancer now . But who is at potential risk for the development of brain cancer? Read here to learn more about what causes brain cancer and which risks to avoid.