Primary brain cancer develops from cells within the brain. Part of the central nervous system (CNS), the brain is the control center for vital functions of the body, including speech, movement, thoughts, feelings, memory, vision, hearing and more.
Primary brain tumors are classified by the type of cell or tissue the tumor affects, and the location and grade of the tumor. Tumor cells may travel short distances within the brain, but generally won’t travel outside of the brain itself.
When cancer develops elsewhere in the body and spreads (metastasizes) to the brain, it’s called a secondary brain tumor, or metastatic brain cancer. Metastatic brain tumors are more common than primary brain tumors. Some cancers that commonly spread to the brain include lung, colon, kidney and breast cancers.
Primary brain tumors are tumors that form from cells within the brain. The tumors are categorized by the type of cell in which it first develops.
There are over 120 different types of brain tumors, according to the National Brain Tumor Society. The most common primary brain tumors are called gliomas, which originate in the glial (supportive) tissue. About one third of all primary brain tumors and other nervous system tumors form from glial cells.
Other Neurological Cancers
Aside from tumors in the brain, cancer can begin in, or spread to, other areas of the central nervous system, such as the spinal cord or column, or the peripheral nerves. Cancer that develops in the spinal cord or its surrounding structures is called spinal cancer. Most tumors of the spine are metastatic tumors, which have spread to the spine from another location in the body.