February 18, 2013

Are all brain tumors cancerous? How to face the diagnosis of a tumor

The diagnosis of a tumor anywhere, particularly in the brain, is a terrifying thing to face. The immediate conclusion of many is that they have been given a death sentence or face severe brain damage. Here, information is crucial in helping patients and parents of patients deal with a diagnosis, make decisions, and come to terms with what they may or may not be facing.

Are all brain tumors cancerous?

No. Tumors come in two basic types: benign and malignant. Cancer is a malignant tumor. It is more likely to invade surrounding tissue and can metastasize to other sites. Benign tumors are more self-contained, less invasive, and do not multiply and spread.

Does that make benign tumors safe?

Unfortunately, No. Benign tumors in other parts of the body can pose a wide degree of threats, or no threat at all. Unfortunately, the skull is an enclosed space. As a benign brain tumor grows, it causes increasing pressure on the brain.

The good news is that benign tumors are often removable without major trauma to the brain. It all depends on the type of tumor, location and size.

Is a malignant tumor fatal?

The possibility is quite real. However, different tumors have very different survival rates. Long term survival is a very real possibility even in the face of a malignant tumor.

How do I deal with all of this?

Information is vital. Make sure you understand the information provided by your doctor, and ask questions. If you are in the early stages of diagnosis, do not jump to the worst conclusions. Tumors are a scary thing to face, but they are not automatically fatal. In addition, new treatments are always in development. Once you learn the specifics of the tumor, do your research. Learn about your options, and ask for second opinions if concerned about the current direction of treatment.

The Rory David Deutsch Foundation knows how difficult it is for families to deal with a child with a brain tumor. For more information about the work of the Foundation, contact us.


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