The images above show a Brain Tumor we treated with the Rotating Gamma System Radiosurgery called a Meningioma. The first image shows a pseudocolor image of the patient's head with the Brain Tumor shown in a yellowish color. The second animated image allows us to appreciate the location and size of the Meningioma and its size compared to the patient's head. The third image shows a cross section of the patient's MRI scan where the Brain Tumor is the lighter gray object.
Historically, a tumor was considered anything that caused a mass or a lump in the body which could be seen or felt. This included fluid filled cysts and parts of the body that were swollen from inflammation, in addition to masses or lumps that were caused by overgrowth of cells.
These days, however, the word tumor is considered by most to be equivalent to the word neoplasm which is much more specific. Both words now refer to an abnormal growth of cells or tissues in an area where they do not belong. A Brain Tumor is considered a mass or lump of cells or tissue growing into the space typically occupied by normal brain. There are a few rare exceptions to this.
Some Brain Tumors originate from tissues which are part of the brain. These are called Primary Brain Tumors and include Astrocytoma, Glioma, Glioblastoma, and Oligodendroglioma among others.
Some Brain Tumors originate from surrounding tissues such as the coverings of the brain called Meninges. These are just referred to as Brain Tumors and typically not classified as Primary or Secondary. They include Meningiomas, Neuromas, and Pituitary Tumors.
Other Brain Tumors grow in the brain but originate from Cancer that involves other parts of the body, such as Lung Cancer or Breast Cancer. The cancer cells can spread through the bloodstream, lodge in the brain, and grow. These are called Brain Metastases and are considered Secondary Brain Tumors.
Brain Tumors are also described as Benign or Malignant. Malignant Tumors typically grow much faster, tend to spread to other distant parts of the body, and are considered cancerous. Malignant Brain Tumors follow this pattern but rarely spread to other parts of the body. Benign Tumors tend to be slower growing, do not spread to other distant parts of the body but usually grow in one place, and are not considered cancer.
Examples of Brain Tumor Types and Typical Classifications