About Brain Tumors

If you’re deciding on care for a brain tumor diagnosis, you’ll have many questions about brain tumors and options for treatment. That’s why you need the expertise of our brain tumor specialists at the Sentara Neuro-Oncology Center on your side.

There are more than 120 types of brain tumors. No matter what type you have, we will develop an individualized treatment plan specifically tailored for you.

  • Brain Tumors: Benign and Malignant

    Brain tumors are clusters of cells that grow abnormally within the brain. They can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). We have very effective treatments for both kinds.

    • Benign tumors contain noncancerous cells. They tend to have defined edges and grow slowly. If we remove them fully, they are less likely to return or spread.
    • Malignant tumors contain abnormal cells, and some grow quite rapidly. They generally have rougher edges and can spread into surrounding tissues. Malignant tumors are more difficult for our surgeons to remove completely and may return.
  • Brain Cancer: Primary and Metastatic

    • Primary brain tumors originate in the brain. They can be benign or malignant. We diagnose them based on the types of cells they contain and where they are in the brain. Medical experts don’t know what causes most primary brain tumors.
    • Metastatic tumors are cancerous cells, from a tumor in another part of the body, that spread to the brain. Metastatic tumors are more common than primary brain cancer.
  • Slow and Fast Growing Tumors

    We classify primary brain tumors using a grading system that categorizes tumors based on how fast they grow and how aggressively they spread into normal tissues. Because some tumors grow faster over time, our brain tumor specialists can monitor the rate of growth to better plan your treatment.

    • Grade 1 tumors: These slow-growing tumors are the easiest to remove completely.
    • Grade 2 tumors: This grade of tumor is also slow growing but can spread or grow more rapidly. We determine your treatment plan based on the tumor’s type and location in your brain.
    • Grade 3 tumors: These tumors grow rapidly and are malignant. We use aggressive treatments against them including combinations of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
    • Grade 4 tumors: These malignant tumors spread very rapidly. We treat them immediately and aggressively using the best treatment options available to stop their spread.
  • Brain Tumor Symptoms

    Brain tumors can cause many different symptoms. Some can be severe, while others are mild. Because many symptoms can occur with other conditions, having one of these symptoms does not mean that you have a brain tumor.

    It’s important to see your physician if you experience any of the following symptoms:

    • Headaches
    • Seizures
    • Nausea
    • Blurred vision or distorted hearing
    • Fuzzy thinking
    • Changes in personality
    • Neurological deficits including speech difficulty, weakness of limbs and lack of sensation

    Find out more about our process for brain tumor diagnosis and our advanced treatment options.

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