Brain tumour, benign (non-cancerous)
A benign (non-cancerous)brain tumour is a mass of cells that grows slowly in the brain. It usually stays inone place and does not spread.
Generally, brain tumours are graded from 1 to 4, according to their behaviour, such as how fast they grow and how likely they are to grow back after treatment. Grade 1 tumours are the least aggressive and grade 4 are the most harmful and cancerous. Cancerous tumours are described as "malignant".
Low-grade brain tumours grades 1 or 2 tend to be slow-growing and unlikely to spread, so they're usually classed as benign. These tumours aren't cancerous and can often be successfully treated. However, they are still serious and can be life-threatening.
These pages focus on low-grade brain tumours. For information on grade 3 or 4 brain tumours,see the separate topic on high-grade (malignant) tumours .
The symptoms of a low-grade or benign brain tumour depend on how big it is and where it is in the brain. Some slow-growing tumours may not cause any symptoms at first.
Common symptoms include:
See your GP if you have persistent symptoms of a brain tumour. While it's unlikely to be a tumour, it's best to be sure by getting a proper diagnosis.
Brain tumours can affect people of any age, including children, although they tend to be more common in older adults.
About 4,300people are diagnosed withbenign brain tumours in the UK each year.The majorityof these are low-grade gliomas.
In most cases, it's not clear why a person has developed a brain tumour, although it's thought that certain genetic conditions and previous radiotherapy treatment to the headmay increase the risk of one developing.
However, some tumours can grow back or may become cancerous.
If surgery is not suitable, or it's not possible to remove the entire tumour, you may need other treatments such as radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy todestroy the abnormal cells in the brain.
In these cases, you may need supportive treatment to help you recover from or adapt to these problems.
Many people are eventually able to return to most of their normal activities, including sports and work, but this can take time.
Youcan be referred to a counsellor if you want to talk about the emotional aspects of your diagnosis and treatment.There are also many organisations that canprovide information and support, such as The Brain Tumour Charity and Brain Tumour Research .
A benign (non-cancerous) brain tumour is a mass of cells that grows slowly in the brain. It usually stays in one place and does not spread.
The symptoms of a benign or low-grade brain tumour depend on its size and where it is in the brain. Some slow-growing tumours may not cause any symptoms at first.
The cause of most benign brain tumours is unknown, although a small number of cases have been linked to certain genes or previous cancer treatment.
See your GP if you develop any of the symptoms of a benign brain tumour, such as a persistent and severe headache.
Most benign tumours are removed with surgery and do not normally come back.
After being treated for a brain tumour, you may need additional care to monitor and treat any further problems.
Joanne Glazier Reitano describes her experience of living with an inoperable brain tumour.
Maisie Dury was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was just two years old. Her parents, Vanessa and Ollie, describe their experience of Maisies diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Melanie Hennessy was diagnosed with a brain tumour after years of experiencing headaches. She tells her story.
Nicole Witts was eventually diagnosed with a benign brain tumour after experiencing a wide range of problems for over six months. She tells her story.
Wayne Chessum was diagnosed with a brain tumour after becoming ill when he returned from a family holiday. His wife Debbie describes the experience.