These pages present information from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) booklet What You Need to Know About Brain Tumors, a booklet about diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care. Learning about medical care for brain tumors can help you take an active part in making choices about your care. Look through the pages below for more information and download the booklet in its entirety from NCI.
Brain Cancer Facts
When most normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when the body doesn't need them, and old or damaged cells don't die as they should. The buildup of extra cells often forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor. Primary brain tumors can be benign or malignant. Learn more about the different types of tumors.
When you're told that you have a brain tumor, it's natural to wonder what may have caused your disease. But no one knows the exact causes of brain tumors. Researchers are studying whether people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop a brain tumor. Learn more about risk factors.
The symptoms of a brain tumor depend on tumor size, type, and location. Symptoms may be caused when a tumor presses on a nerve or harms a part of the brain. Also, they may be caused when a tumor blocks the fluid that flows through and around the brain, or when the brain swells because of the buildup of fluid. Learn more about common symptoms.
If you have symptoms that suggest a brain tumor, your doctor will give you a physical exam and ask about your personal and family health history. Learn more about different types of tests involved in diagnosis.