General Information About Adult Brain Tumors
Other Adult Brain Tumors
There are many other types of adult brain tumors that are rare and are not discussed in this summary. See the PDQ health professional summary on Adult Brain Tumors Treatment for information about these other types of adult brain tumors:
- Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma
- Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma
- Chordoid glioma of the third ventricle
- Gliomatosis cerebri
- Gangliocytoma or ganglioglioma
- Desmoplastic infantile astrocytoma or ganglioglioma
- Dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor
- Central neurocytoma
- Cerebellar liponeurocytoma
- Supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET)
- Choroid plexus papilloma or carcinoma
- Pineal parenchymal tumors of intermediate differentiation
- Melanocytic lesions
- Capillary hemangioblastoma
Recurrent Brain Tumors
A recurrent brain tumor is a tumor that has recurred (come back) after it has been treated. Brain tumors often recur, sometimes many years after the first tumor. The tumor may recur at the same place in the brain or in other parts of the central nervous system.
The cause of most adult brain tumors is unknown.
Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. There are few known risk factors for brain tumors. The following conditions may increase the risk of developing certain types of brain tumors:
- Being exposed to vinyl chloride may increase the risk of glioma.
- Past treatment with radiation therapy to the scalp or brain may increase the risk of meningioma.
- Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus, having AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), or receiving an organ transplant may increase the risk of primary CNS lymphoma. (See the PDQ summary on Primary CNS Lymphoma for more information.)
- Having certain genetic syndromes may increase the risk of developing the following types of brain tumors:
- Neurofibromatosis type 1 or 2.
- von Hippel-Lindau disease.
- Tuberous sclerosis.
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
- Turcot syndrome type 1 and type 2.
- Klinefelter syndrome.
- Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome.
The symptoms of adult brain and spinal cord tumors are not the same in every person.
The symptoms caused by a brain tumor depend on where the tumor formed in the brain, the functions controlled by that part of the brain, and the size of the tumor. Headaches and other symptoms may be caused by adult brain tumors. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
- Morning headache or headache that goes away after vomiting.
- Frequent nausea and vomiting.
- Vision, hearing, and speech problems.
- Loss of balance and trouble walking.
- Weakness on one side of the body.
- Unusual sleepiness or change in activity level.
- Unusual changes in personality or behavior.