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A brain tumour is a lump of abnormal cells growing in your brain.

A brain tumour is a lump of abnormal cells growing in your brain.
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Brain tumours

A brain tumour is a lump of abnormal cells growing in your brain. Your brain controls parts of your body and its functions and produces your thoughts. A tumour in your brain can affect these functions.

What is a brain tumour?

When cells grow abnormally they may form a lump called a tumour. Tumours can be benign or malignant.

A benign tumour grows and stays in one place. It can’t spread to another part of your body.

Benign tumours are not cancerous. But a benign brain tumour may cause damage just by being there and pressing on your brain. This can be life-threatening, or affect other parts of your body, and may need urgent treatment.

A malignant tumour is cancerous. It can spread to other areas of your brain, or your body. It can also be called brain cancer. Some benign tumours can become malignant.

Types of brain tumours

Brain tumours can either be ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’. A primary brain tumour has started in the brain. A secondary brain tumour is a cancer from elsewhere in the body that has spread or ‘metastasised’ to the brain.

There are many types of brain tumours. Together with tumours of the spinal cord, they are collectively called central nervous system (CNS) tumours.

Some common types of primary brain tumours are gliomas (including astrocytomas and glioblastomas), meningiomas and medulloblastomas.

Most types of cancer can spread to the brain, forming a secondary brain tumours. The most common types are melanoma, bowel, breast, kidney and lung cancers.

Risk factors for brain tumours

It’s not known what causes brain tumours.

Occasionally people develop brain tumours because of genetic factors, or because they’ve been exposed to radiation.

Research is investigating whether certain genes are important risk factors for brain tumours. Read more about brain tumour research at Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

How common is brain cancer?

Almost half of all brain and spinal cord tumours are malignant.

Each year, about 1,400 people are diagnosed with malignant brain tumours in Australia, including about 100 children. About 1,200 Australians die of it each year.

Recommended links

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Brain Tumour (Astrocytoma of the Brain) | myVMC

Brain tumours are responsible for as much as 20% of childhood cancers. Most tumours arising within the brain start in brain cells called astrocytes, resulting in astrocytomas.

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Diagnosis of Brain Tumour - Brain Foundation

Diagnosis of Brain Tumour The symptoms of brain cancer vary widely and depend on what part of the brain the tumour is pressing on. Sometimes, when a tumour develops slowly, the symptoms develop so gradually that they are scarcely noticed. Symptoms of brain tumours As a tumour grows inside the skull it presses on the... Read more

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If Your Child Has A Brain Tumour - Brain Foundation

If Your Child Has A Brain Tumour Although brain tumours occur considerably less often in children than in adults, they are still the second most common cancer in children (after leukaemia). While the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours in children are much the same as in adults, childrens brain tumours obviously pose a... Read more

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Brain tumour (Glioma of the Brain) | myVMC

Brain tumour may be of the Glioma type and usually arise from the glial cells which support the nerve cells. The brain is the control centre for the body. It is comprised of millions of individual nerve cells which are all interconnected. It is located at the top of the spinal cord and is encased in hard bone. Individual nerves emerge from the brain to work the muscles and organs contained within the head. These are called cranial nerves.

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Brain Foundation | Brain Tumour / Cancer

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Acoustic Neuroma | myVMC

Acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma is a benign tumour of Schwann cells which surround the XIIth cranial nerve responsible for balance and hearing.

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Brain Cancer & Tumours - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

Brain tumours are a range of conditions that affect different parts of the brain and people of all ages. Learn more about causes and treatment with CanTeen.

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Medulloblastoma / Primitive Neuroectodermal tumour (PNET) | myVMC

Medulloblastoma is an aggressive brain tumour that only develops in the posterior fossa of the brain - classically in the midline of the cerebellum. It is an important tumour because it occurs in childhood and it can be very aggressive. It is made up of small cells that are believed to have a neuro-ectodermal origin.

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Brain cancer - Cancer Council Australia

Brain cancers include primary brain tumours, which start in the brain and almost never spread to other parts of the body, and secondary tumours (or metastases), which are caused by cancers that began in another part of the body.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

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