A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells within the brain, which can be cancerous or non-cancerous (benign).
It is defined as any intracranial tumor created by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division, normally either in the brain itself (neurons, glial cells (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, ependymal cells), lymphatic blood vessels), in the cranial nerves (myelin-producing Schwann cells), in the brain envelopes (meninges), skull, pituitary and pineal gland, or spread from cancers primarily located in other organs (metastatic tumors).
This CT scan provides a black and white view of the brain looking straight down from above the head. A meningioma appears as a light gray mass on the right side of the brain
. Courtesy of Ashok R. Asthagiri, M.D., Surgical Neurology Branch, NINDS.
Primary (true) brain tumors are commonly located in the posterior cranial fossa in children and in the anterior two-thirds of the cerebral hemispheres in adults, although they can affect any part of the brain.
In the United States in the year 2005, it was estimated there were 43,800 new cases of brain tumors (Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, Primary Brain Tumors in the United States, Statistical Report, 2005–2006), which accounted for 1.4 percent of all cancers, 2.4 percent of all cancer deaths, and 20–25 percent of pediatric cancers. Ultimately, it is estimated there are 13,000 deaths per year in the United States alone as a result of brain tumors.
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