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Brain and spinal cord tumors are masses of abnormal cells in the brain or spinal cord that have grown out of control. But both benign and malignant brain and spinal cord tumors can be life threatening. 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 outlooks and treatments.
Types of Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
- Tumors that start in the brain or spinal cord are called primary brain (or spinal cord) tumors.
- Tumors that start in another part of the body and then spread to the brain or spinal cord are called metastatic or secondary brain (or spinal cord) tumors.
Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors are classified on basis of
The type of tumor or based on the type of cell it starts in
- Astrocytomas (which include glioblastomas)
- Brain stem gliomas
- Optic gliomas
The grade of the tumor
- Schwannomas (neurilemmomas), which surround and insulate cranial nerves and other nerves & are almost always benign (grade I) tumors
- Craniopharyngiomas, slow-growing (grade I) tumors start above the pituitary gland but below the brain itself.
Gene changes in the tumor cells
The location of the tumor
- Meningiomas begin in the meninges, the layers of tissue that surround the outer part of the brain and spinal cord.
- Medulloblastomas develop from neuroectodermal cells (early forms of nerve cells) in the cerebellum.
- Gangliogliomas contain both neurons and glial cells.
- Chordomas, rare tumors start in the bone at the base of the skull or at the lower end of the spine.
Treatment of Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
- Surgery for Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
- Radiation Therapy for Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
- Chemotherapy for Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
- Targeted Drug Therapy for Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
- Other Drug Treatments for Adult Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
- Alternating Electric Field Therapy for Adult Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors