What is a Brain Tumor?
A tumor is a mass of tissue that's formed by an accumulation of abnormal cells. Normally, the cells in your body age, die and are then replaced by new cells. With cancer and other tumors, something disrupts this cycle. Tumor cells grow, even though the body does not need them, and unlike normal old cells, they don't die. As this process goes on, the tumor continues to grow as more and more cells are added to the mass.
What are the Types of Brain Tumors?
Primary brain tumors emerge from the various cells that make up the brain and central nervous system and are named for the kind of cell in which they first form. The most common types of adult brain tumors are gliomas (astrocytic tumors). These tumors form from astrocytes and other types of glial cells, which are cells that help keep nerves healthy.
What Might Cause a Brain Tumor?
No one knows what causes brain tumors; there are only a few known risk factors that have been established by research. Children who receive radiation to the head have a higher risk of developing a brain tumor as adults, as do people who have certain rare genetic conditions such as neurofibromatosis or Li-Fraumeni syndrome. But those cases represent a fraction of the approximately 28,000 new primary brain tumors diagnosed each year in the United States. Age is also a risk factor. People between the ages of 65 and 79 make up the population most likely to be diagnosed with a brain tumor.
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