"Brain and spinal cord tumors are abnormal growths of tissue
found inside the skull or the bony spinal column, which are the
primary components of the central nervous system (CNS). Benign tumors
are noncancerous, and malignant tumors are cancerous. The CNS is
housed within rigid, bony quarters (i.e., the skull and spinal column),
so any abnormal growth, whether benign or malignant, can place pressure
on sensitive tissues and impair function.
Tumors that originate in the brain or spinal cord are called primary
tumors. Most primary tumors are caused by out-of-control growth
among cells that surround and support neurons. In a small number
of individuals, primary tumors may result from specific genetic
disease (e.g., neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis) or from exposure
to radiation or cancer-causing chemicals.
The cause of most primary tumors remains a mystery. They are not
contagious and, at this time, not preventable. Symptoms of brain
tumors include headaches, seizures, nausea and vomiting, vision
or hearing problems, behavioral and cognitive problems, motor problems,
and balance problems. Spinal cord tumor symptoms include pain, sensory
changes, and motor problems. The first test to diagnose brain and
spinal column tumors is a neurological examination.
Special imaging techniques (computed tomography, and magnetic resonance
imaging, positron emission tomography) are also employed. Laboratory
tests include the EEG and the spinal tap. A biopsy, a surgical procedure
in which a sample of tissue is taken from a suspected tumor, helps
doctors diagnose the type of tumor."
Other Information can be found at:
of the Bones and Spine
Information about treating cacer of the spine and back and associated
Brain and Spinal Tumors Information