A brain tumor is characterized by abnormal growth of tissue in the brain or central spine that can impact brain function. Tumors can be benign (least aggressive and typically do not spread to other tissue), malignant (contain cancer cells, grow rapidly and invade surrounding tissue), primary (tumors that originate in the brain and spread to other parts of the central nervous system but not other organs) or metastatic (tumors that begin elsewhere in the body then spread to the brain). Symptoms of brain tumors may include seizures, vision and hearing changes, memory problems, balance and walking problems, numbness in arms or legs and inability to concentrate. Treatment for brain tumors typically involves surgery as the first option, but when a brain tumor is located in a section of the brain that can’t be accessed surgically, chemotherapy and radiation may be used. Follow up treatment with specialists like physical and speech therapists may be required after surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
Organizations exist to provide resources and support to people and families experiencing the impact of brain tumors in their lives.