What is Brain Cancer? (Definition)

According to the National Cancer Institute, brain and spinal cord tumors are growths of abnormal cells in tissues of the brain or spinal cord. Tumors that start in the brain are called primary brain tumors. A tumor that starts in another part of the body and spreads to the brain is called a metastatic brain tumor. Brain and spinal cord tumors may be either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

There are many types of brain and spinal cord tumors. They form in different cell types and different areas of the brain and spinal cord. The signs and symptoms of brain and spinal cord tumors depend on where the tumor forms, its size, how fast it is growing, and the age of the patient.

In adults, anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas make up about one-third of brain tumors. In children, astrocytomas are the most common type of brain tumor.


Brain Cancer Symptoms and Signs

It’s often been said that early detection is the best medicine, and when it comes to treating diseases and conditions like brain cancer, the saying definitely holds true.  It is important to pay attention to symptoms, however minor they may seem, as they could be the first signs of disease. In many cases, knowing the early warning signs of brain cancer can help identify the disease before it progresses, allowing for better treatment and treatment outcomes.

Many symptoms are common to many different types of diseases and conditions, such as unexplained weight loss, fatigue, etc. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing so that a proper diagnosis can be made, and if necessary, you can begin treatment.

If you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms associated with brain cancer, consult with your doctor to identify what may be causing your symptoms. Advancements in diagnosing and treating brain cancer are occurring on a regular basis thanks to ongoing research being conducted at major medical research universities and institutions around the world. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of brain tumors and brain cancer will vary greatly depending on the brain tumor’s size and location. Some symptoms may include:

General signs and symptoms caused by brain tumors may include:

  • New onset or change in pattern of headaches
  • Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe
  • Unexplained nausea or vomiting
  • Vision problems, such as blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision
  • Gradual loss of sensation or movement in an arm or a leg
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Speech difficulties
  • Confusion in everyday matters
  • Personality or behavior changes
  • Seizures, especially in someone who doesn’t have a history of seizures
  • Hearing problems

See below for updated news and information regarding brain cancer and brain tumors including new medical research, treatments and advancements. 

Latest Brain Cancer News

Glioblastoma Treatment News: Researchers discover potential new target for treating glioblastoma

(SOURCE: UT SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL CENTER) - Scientists have found a way to inhibit the growth of glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer with low survival rates, by targeting a protein that drives growth of brain tumors, according to research from the Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. "These findings change our fundamental understanding of the molecular ...
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Brain Cancer Research: Precision medicine advances pediatric brain tumor diagnosis and treatment

(SOURCE: DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE) - Precision medicine — in which diagnosis and treatments are keyed to the genetic susceptibilities of individual cancers — has advanced to the point where it can now impact the care of a majority of children with brain tumors, a new study by investigators at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center suggests. In the largest clinical study ...
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Brain Cancer Treatment News: Malaria drug successfully treats 26-year-old brain cancer patient

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO ANSCHUTZ MEDICAL CAMPUS) -  After her brain cancer became resistant to chemotherapy and then to targeted treatments, 26-year-old Lisa Rosendahl’s doctors gave her only a few months to live. Now a paper published January 17 in the journal eLife describes a new drug combination that has stabilized Rosendahl’s disease and increased both the quantity and quality ...
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Glioblastoma Treatment News: TGen identifies compound that could improve drug development against brain cancer

(SOURCE: THE TRANSLATIONAL GENOMICS RESEARCH INSTITUTE) - ATA prevents glioblastoma from spreading, and leaves cancer vulnerable to chemotherapy and radiation. A study led by scientists at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has identified "a potent inhibitory compound" in the elusive hunt for an improved treatment against glioblastoma, the most common and deadly type of adult brain cancer. Aurintricarboxylic Acid (ATA) is ...
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(SOURCE: DUKE UNIVERSITY) - Biomedical engineers at Duke University have recruited an unlikely ally in the fight against the deadliest form of brain cancer -- a strain of salmonella that usually causes food poisoning. Clinicians sorely need new treatment approaches for glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. The blood-brain barrier -- a protective sheath separating brain tissue from its ...
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Glioblastoma Treatment News: Suppressing repair protein could be key to treating brain tumors

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS) - Targeting a specific DNA-repairing protein in the brain could be an effective way to treat the most aggressive type of brain tumor, a study suggests. Researchers at the University of Leeds found that inhibiting this protein, called RAD51, helped increase the effectiveness of radiotherapy in killing off glioblastoma cells in the lab. Glioblastoma is the most common ...
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Glioblastoma Treatment News: Direct-To-Brain Chemo Better than Systemic Drugs When Immunotherapy Is to Follow

(SOURCE: JOHNS HOPKINS MEDICINE) - In experiments on mice with a form of aggressive brain cancer, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that localized chemotherapy delivered directly to the brain rather than given systemically may be the best way to keep the immune system intact and strong when immunotherapy is also part of the treatment. The researchers say their study results, reported Dec ...
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(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY HEALTH NETWORK) - Multi-institutional researchers investigating an incurable brain cancer in children have discovered three distinct subgroups of disease and identified  promising drugs to  target each type. The research findings are published online today and depicted on the cover of Cancer Cell. Co-principal investigator Dr. Daniel De Carvalho, Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, says being able to ...
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Glioma Research News: Researchers find new biomarker for brain cancer prognosis

(SOURCE: UT Southwestern Medical Center) - Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a new biomarker for glioma, a common type of brain cancer, that can help doctors determine how aggressive a cancer is and that could eventually help determine the best course of treatment. Researchers from the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center found that high expression of a gene ...
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(UK) Do your bit this Christmas and help fund vital research for children with brain tumours

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM) As many excited children prepare for the festive season by writing letters to Santa and rehearsing school nativity plays, there will be some who will spend Christmas this year on a hospital ward receiving treatment for a life-threatening brain tumour. Researchers at The University of Nottingham are urging people to add these children to their Christmas ...
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