Brain Tumors

Brain tumors can originate in the brain itself or from cancers in other parts of the body. Some brain tumors are cancerous (malignant), while others are not (benign). According to the American Cancer Society, about 22,850 malignant tumors of the brain or spinal cord (12,900 in males and 9,950 in females) will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2015. As part of a national program by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, has been named a Blue Distinction CenterSM for brain tumors. 

Oncology Services at Beaumont are dedicated to offering counseling, diagnosis and exceptional care to patients with brain tumors and their families. Blue Distinction Centers provide comprehensive cancer care, delivered by multidisciplinary teams with special training and clinical expertise in treating rare cancers. The centers were selected in collaboration with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), leading clinicians and professional organizations.

What is a brain tumor?

A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. The tumor can either originate in the brain itself, or come from another part of the body and travel to the brain (metastasize). Brain tumors may be classified as either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous), depending on their behavior.

A benign tumor does not contain cancer cells and usually, once removed, does not recur. Most benign brain tumors have clear borders, meaning they do not invade surrounding tissue. These tumors can, however, cause symptoms similar to cancerous tumors because of their size and location in the brain.

Malignant brain tumors contain cancer cells. Malignant brain tumors are usually fast growing and invade surrounding tissue. Malignant brain tumors very rarely spread to other areas of the body, but may recur after treatment. Sometimes, brain tumors that are not cancer are called malignant because of their size and location, and the damage they can do to vital functions of the brain.

Metastatic brain tumors are tumors that begin to grow in another part of the body, then spread to the brain through the bloodstream. Common types of cancer that can travel to the brain include lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma (a type of skin cancer), and colon cancer. All of these cancers are considered malignant once they have spread to the brain.