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Brain Tumor

A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. Brain tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). Brain tumors are usually categorized by the type of cell where the tumor begins or by the area of the brain where they occur.

There are many brain tumor types:

  • Glioma tumors, a malignant tumor that starts in the glial cells
  • Astrocytoma, a common type of glioma tumor found in adults and children
  • Glioblastoma, a quickly growing malignant tumor that is the most common type of astrocytoma in adults
  • Meningioma, a common adult brain tumor that is usually benign

Other common brain tumor types in children include neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma. For more on brain tumors, see Brain Tumor FAQs

Brain tumor: what you should know

  • Metastatic brain tumors, meaning tumors that traveled to the brain from elsewhere, are the most common type of brain tumor.
  • Brain tumor specialists at Rush focus on finding the most effective treatment for your type of brain tumor and helping you maintain quality of life.

How can I find out if I have a brain tumor?

Brain tumor symptoms differ depending on the location in the brain, size and type of tumor. Often the symptoms are the result of swelling in the brain. 

Call your primary care doctor if you have any of the following common brain tumor symptoms:

  • Headaches (usually worse in the morning)
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in speech, vision or hearing
  • Changes in mood, personality or ability to concentrate
  • Problems balancing or walking
  • Seizures
  • Muscle jerking or twitching

Care for brain tumors at Rush

  • If you have a brain tumor, you have several treatment options. Your options typically are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy; many people get a combination of one or more of these.
  • Your treatment will depend primarily on the following:
    • Whether the tumor is malignant or benign
    • The type and grade of brain tumor
    • Its location and size
    • Your age and general health
  • Brain tumor specialists at Rush work with you — and with each other — to determine the most appropriate course of action for your situation.
  • For tumors that have metastasized (traveled) to the brain, your treatment will depend on where the tumor originated.
  • Brain tumor specialists at Rush focus on preserving quality of life during treatment by using targeted treatments whenever possible. Targeted treatments mean, for example, using a type of radiation therapy that more precisely focuses on (targets) only the cancerous cells or a chemotherapy regimen that is developed to target your specific tumor type and location.

Why choose Rush for brain tumor care

  • Rush offers clinical trial opportunities that may not otherwise be widely available, in addition to gold-standard treatment options.
  • Rush offers a specialized clinic for metastatic brain cancer. The clinic offers appointments within a few days of your call. At your appointment, you can meet with both a radiation therapist and a neurosurgeon who work together to determine the best course of action for your situation.
  • Rush’s neurological sciences and neurological surgery programs are consistently rated among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
  • The Rush University Cancer Center offers you access to support services to help with quality of life during brain tumor treatment:
    • A patient navigator who helps troubleshoot logistical issues such as transportation and financial issues, as well as provides emotional support
    • Complementary and alternative medicine therapies, such as acupuncture, therapeutic massage and counseling

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