Brain Cancer Facts

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.


About The Brain

The brain directs the things we choose to do (like walking and talking) and the things our body does without thinking (like breathing). The brain is also in charge of our senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), memory, emotions, and personality. Learn more about the brain.


Tumor Grades and Types

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.


Risk Factors

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.



People with brain tumors have several treatment options. The options are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Many people get a combination of treatments. The choice of treatment depends mainly several factors. Learn more about various treatment types.