Types of Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

The main kinds of brain and spinal cord tumors include:

  • Gliomas – general term for brain tumors that start in glial cells in the brain or spinal cord; around 80 percent of malignant tumors are gliomas.

    Forms of glioma include:
    • Astrocytoma – begins in the brain itself and penetrates brain tissue, making it difficult to be surgically removed; comprises about 30 percent of brain tumors; this is the second most common type of brain tumor seen at Scott & White.
      • Glioblastoma – the fastest-growing, most malignant form of astrocystoma; the most common type of brain tumor treated at Scott & White.
    • Oligodendroglioma – rare and slow-growing; begins in brain cells called oligodendrocytes and penetrate brain tissue, making it difficult to be surgically removed.
    • Ependymoma – causes brain pathways to enlarge, swelling the brain; often can be fully removed by surgery.
  • Meningioma – often noncancerous, this type of tumor grows on the lining of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Medulloblastoma – a fast-growing tumor that spread through the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pathways; usually affects children.
  • Pituitary tumor – an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland, a pea-sized endocrine gland located at the base of the brain; regulates the body's balance of hormones; most pituitary tumors are benign.
  • Ganglioglioma – tumors that affect both neurons and glial cells; often treated successfully with surgery.
  • Schwannoma – usually noncancerous tumors on the cranial or peripheral nerves.
  • Chordoma – not actually part of the CNS, these tumors are on the base of skull or lower end of the spine; usually treated with surgery, but they often return.

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