July 21, 2013 11:27 am

Dr. Kris Gast ~ Ask the Pros

Q:  Can you give me information about brain tumors?

A: A primary brain tumor actually arises from the brain or spinal cord.  This is not to be confused with a metastatic brain tumor, which is a tumor that has spread from some other part of the body, such as a lung cancer that has spread to the brain.  Brain tumors are classified by cell origin and cell behavior from the least aggressive (benign) to the most aggressive (malignant). Additionally, some tumor types are assigned a grade, ranging from Grade I (least malignant) to Grade IV (most malignant), which signifies the rate of growth.   Accounting for less than 1% of all cancers and 2.4% of all cancer deaths, more than 120 types of brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumors can occur with about 45,000 cases reported yearly.  However, in pediatric cancers (those found in children) the occurrence rate is 20-25%.

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