Primary and secondary brain tumours
Brain tumours can start in the brain (a primary brain tumour) or can spread into the brain from a cancer somewhere else in the body (a secondary brain tumour). You can read about
Cancers that start in the brain are called primary brain tumours. Tumours can start in any part of the brain or related structures.
In adults, the most common types of brain tumour are those that start in the main part of the brain called the cerebrum. Around a quarter of brain and central nervous system tumours (24%) start in the membranes that surround and protect the brain (the meninges). And around 1 in 10 (10%) tumours start in the glands within the brain such as the pituitary gland or pineal gland.
Cancers that have spread to the brain from somewhere else in the body are called secondary brain tumours or brain metastases. Cancers of the lung, breast, kidney, stomach, bowel (colon), and melanoma skin cancer can all spread to the brain.
Cancer cells break away from the main tumour and travel through the bloodstream to lodge in the brain. There they can begin to grow into new tumours.
Most of the information in this section of the website is about primary brain tumours. Some of the information is useful for both primary and secondary brain tumours, for example, the living with a brain tumour section.
If you are looking for information, it is important to understand which of these types of brain tumour you have. The treatment and outlook may be different for each. You can ask your doctor or specialist nurse if you are not sure.
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