Brain Tumor Overview

Brain tumors are a collection of abnormal cells in your brain. The tumor may be primary (starting in your brain). Or, the tumor may be metastatic (cancer that started in another place in your body and spread to your brain).

All brain tumors are either:

  • Benign: slow-growing and not cancerous
  • Malignant: faster-growing and cancerous

Brain tumors can cause serious damage, even if they are benign. The degree of damage depends upon the type, size and location of the tumor.

Primary Brain Tumors

A primary brain tumor is a type of tumor that starts in the brain. There are many types of primary brain tumors.

Metastatic (Secondary) Brain Tumors

A metastatic brain tumor refers to a cancer that starts in another part of the body and then spreads to the brain. This is the most common type of brain cancer. Lung, breast, kidney, skin and colon cancers spread to the brain most often.

Related Resources

Lou and Jean Malnati Brain Tumor Institute at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Brain and Spine Tumor Center brochure: Learn about the Brain and Spine Tumor Center at Central DuPage Hospital and Delnor Hospital