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Brain Tumor Awareness Month: Types of Tumors and Treatment Options

According to the American Brain Tumor Association, nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. are living with a brain tumor. May is recognized nationally as Brain Tumor Awareness Month, a period devoted to spreading awareness about brain tumors through community-powered education and providing opportunities to get involved and offer support for those affected by the disease.

There are over 120 different types of brain tumors. Primary brain tumors originate within brain tissue, while secondary brain tumors, known as brain metastases, develop from cancer that originates in another part of the body. One of the most common brain tumors is a glioma, which arises from the supportive tissues of the brain. Below are three common types of gliomas:

  • Astrocytomas arise from small, star-shaped cells called astrocytes that make up the supportive tissue of the brain. There are various grades of these tumors, which are categorized on a scale from I to IV based on how normal or abnormal the cells look.

  • Oligodendrogliomas develop from oligodendrocytes, which are one of the types of cells that make up the supportive tissue of the brain. These slow-growing tumors usually do not spread into surrounding brain tissue and can often be present for years before they are diagnosed.

  • Ependymomas typically develop in various locations within the brain and spinal column.

A number of factors are considered when determining the best treatment for a brain tumor, such as size and proximity of the tumor to critical structures. CyberKnife® has been used for 20 years to treat primary and metastatic brain tumors. The technology delivers highly focused radiation to precisely targeted areas, minimizing radiation exposure to healthy tissue around a tumor. Typically, patients experience few to no side effects from the nonsurgical treatment.

If you’re interested in CyberKnife and want to learn more, click here to read about how CyberKnife works or check out our blog post on clinical research supporting CyberKnife for neurological disease treatment.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.