Brain tumors form when cells in the brain grow in ways they shouldn’t. Tumors that begin in the brain are primary brain tumors.
Sometimes, cancer begins in another part of the body and spreads (metastasizes) to the brain. This is a metastatic, or secondary, brain tumor.
Brain tumors and spinal cord tumors may form in different types of cells and tissues. These include:
- Glial cells: Supporting cells of the brain (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and ependymal cells)
- Meninges: Tissue that lines and protects both the brain and spinal cord
- Neurons: Nerve cells that help with all functions of the brain and spine
- Neuroectodermal cells: Young cells that form the nervous system
Brain cancer symptoms may develop suddenly or may get worse over type. Signs of brain cancer include:
- Blurry vision
- Changes in behavior
- Nausea or vomiting
- Trouble with balance
Experts assign grades to brain tumors based on how the tumor is growing or spreading. Tumors with higher grades tend to grow and spread more quickly. Doctors consider a tumor's type and grade when deciding how to treat you.