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Brain Tumors

Summary

A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain. Brain tumors can be benign, with no cancer cells, or malignant, with cancer cells that grow quickly. Some are primary brain tumors, which start in the brain. Others are metastatic, and they start somewhere else in the body and move to the brain.

Brain tumors can cause many symptoms. Some of the most common are

  • Headaches, often in the morning
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in your ability to talk, hear, or see
  • Problems with balance or walking
  • Problems with thinking or memory
  • Feeling weak or sleepy
  • Changes in your mood or behavior
  • Seizures

Doctors diagnose brain tumors by doing a neurologic exam and tests including an MRI, CT scan, and biopsy. Treatment options include watchful waiting, surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells. Many people get a combination of treatments.

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