Brain – Central Nervous System

The Central Nervous System (CNS) is part of the nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord. Brain and spinal cord tumors are masses of abnormal cells in the brain or spinal cord that have grown out of control.

In most other parts of the body, it is very important to distinguish between benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) tumors. Benign tumors do not grow into nearby tissues or spread to distant areas, so in other parts of the body they are almost never life threatening. One of the main reasons malignant tumors are so dangerous is because they can spread throughout the body.

Although brain tumors rarely spread to other parts of the body, most of them can spread through the brain tissue. Even so-called benign tumors can, as they grow, press on and destroy normal brain tissue, causing damage that is often disabling and sometimes fatal. For this reason, doctors usually speak of “brain tumors” rather than “brain cancers.” The main concerns with brain and spinal cord tumors are how readily they spread through the rest of the brain or spinal cord and whether they can be removed and not come back.

Brain and spinal cord tumors tend to be different in adults and children. They often form in different areas, develop from different cell types, and may have a different outlook and treatment.

Several types of treatment can be used to treat brain and spinal cord tumors, including: Surgery, Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, and Targeted therapy. Treatment is based on the type of tumor and other factors, and often more than one type of treatment is used.