Brain Tumor FAQ

Gliomas (also known as primary brain tumors), are a type of brain tumor that grow from cells in the brain instead of starting in another area such as the lung and traveling, or metastasizing, to the brain. Gliomas come in many types and may be low-grade (slowly growing) or high-grade (rapidly growing). High-grade gliomas are the most common type of primary brain tumors.

How do brain tumors develop?

Soon after birth, the human brain finishes growing. Most brain cells then enter a resting state and rarely divide again. An exception is when a brain tumor develops. The genes that control cell growth become abnormal and then the abnormal brain cells begin to multiply without control.

Are brain tumors hereditary?

The answer, for almost all patients, is no. While there are some conditions that may lead to brain tumors in families, they are very rare. The conditions that carry a higher
inherited risk of gliomas include neurofibromatosis type I, Turcot’s syndrome, and the Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

How are gliomas diagnosed?

Once a brain tumor is seen on a CT or MRI scan, a neurosurgeon takes a sample of the tumor to be examined under a microscope by a neuropathologist. After examining the
sample, the neuropathologist will give the tumor a name and grade. Knowing the name and grade of the tumor helps the physician decide which treatment is best.

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