What Are Brain Tumors?

A brain tumor is an abnormal collection of cells in the brain that grow uncontrollably, forming a mass that can be either benign or cancerous. According to the National Brain Tumor Society, nearly 700,000 Americans are living with a brain tumor today.

At Mount Sinai, our multidisciplinary team of neurologists, oncologists, and neurosurgeons have the experience and expertise to treat a wide array of primary brain tumors (tumors that arise in the brain) and secondary brain tumors.

Our skilled surgeons can recommend the optimal treatment plan based on the goals of care for the patient.

Primary Brain Tumors

Primary brain tumors arise from within the brain and can benign or malignant. The most common primary brain tumor is a meningioma, a benign tumor that develops slowly in the meninges (the thin layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord).

Another other common type of primary brain tumors is a glioblastoma, a highly malignant tumor that is generally found in the cerebral hemisphere.

Low-grade gliomas are also common primary brain tumors. They are slow-growing tumors that develop from the support cells in the brain and have a tendency to cause seizures.

Other primary brain tumors include:

In 2013, more than 70,000 new cases of primary brain tumors are expected to be diagnosed in the United States, according to Raymond Yong, MD, neurosurgeon and Director of Outreach for the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at Mount Sinai.

Secondary Brain Tumors

More than 100,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed this year with a secondary (metastatic) brain tumor, a tumor that originates from cancers elsewhere in the body that migrate to the brain via the bloodstream.

Common types of cancers that can spread to the brain include:

Secondary brain tumors are becoming more common as novel advancements in chemotherapy prolong life, allowing the tumors to migrate and change, says Dr. Yong.

Brain Tumor Symptoms

Both primary and secondary tumors produce similar symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Imbalance
  • Overall weakness
  • Seizures (although more common in low-grade gliomas)
  • Sensory loss
  • Visual changes

Our neurosurgeons provide a variety of treatment options that include symptom management. This can be discussed in a consultation with one of our neurosurgeons.


Contact Us

Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program
Tel: 212-241-9638
Fax: 212-831-3324

5 East 98th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10029

To speak with someone about open brain tumor clinical trials, please contact John Percival Pena, NP, at 212-241-6252.

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