What is a Brain Tumour and what types exist?

Listen to Dr Adnan Jabbar explain in detail in the video above.

A brain tumour is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Many different types of brain tumours exist. Some brain tumors are noncancerous (benign), and some brain tumours are cancerous (malignant). Tumours can start in the brain (primary cancer), or cancer elsewhere in the body can spread to the brain (secondary/metastic cancer).

Brain Tumour Foundation of Pakistan, and many other medical organisations around the world, refer to the World Health Organisation (WHO) classification system to identify brain tumours. The WHO classifies brain tumours by cell origin and how the cells behave, from the least aggressive (non-malignant) to the most aggressive (malignant). Some brain tumour types are assigned a grade ranging from Grade I (non-malignant) to Grade IV (most malignant), which also signifies the rate of growth.

On May 9, 2016, the WHO published an official reclassification of tumour types of the Central Nervous System (CNS), which helps doctors to diagnose more accurately, plan treatments accordingly and predict therapeutic response for patients. The reclassification document can be found here.

Types of brain tumours: 

Primary: Starting in the brain

Metastatic: Starting in other parts of the body and spreading to the brain

Benign: Slow-growing; non-cancerous. Benign tumours can still be difficult to treat if they are growing in or around certain structures of the brain.

Malignant: Cancerous. Unlike benign tumours that tend to stay contained, malignant tumours can be very aggressive. They grow rapidly and can spread to areas near the original tumour and to other areas in the brain.