About Brain Tumours

What is a brain tumour?

A brain tumour is defined as an abnormal growth of cells within the brain or the central spinal canal. A brain tumour may be either malignant or benign.

Malignant Brain Tumour

When a brain tumour spreads within the brain, it is called malignant. Malignant brain tumours contain cancer cells and can press down on different areas of your brain and cause symptoms. A malignant tumour can be either primary or secondary.

Primary Brain Tumours are tumours that start in the brain and have not spread there from somewhere else in the body. They can be either malignant or benign.

Secondary Brain Tumours are tumours in the brain that has occurred because cancer cells from a cancer in another part of the body have spread to the brain i.e. they are always malignant. Your doctor will be able to tell you if your brain tumour is a primary or secondary tumour.

Benign Brain Tumour

Benign tumours do not contain cancer cells.  These are tumours that remain in the part of the brain in which they started and don’t spread into and destroy other areas of the brain. They also do not spread to other parts of the body. If a benign tumour can be removed successfully it should not cause any further problems.

However, sometimes it can be difficult to remove the tumour because of its position within the brain, or because the surrounding brain tissue could be damaged by surgery. Some benign tumours will regrow slowly and, if this happens, treatment with radiotherapy or further surgery may be needed.

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Brain tumours in adults

Brain Tumour symptoms vary from patient to patient, and most of these symptoms can also be found in people who do NOT have brain tumours

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Brain tumours in children

Every year in Ireland, an average of 45 children and teenagers, are diagnosed with a tumour of the brain or spinal cord.

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