Tumors that start in the brain are called primary brain tumors.
Up to half of metastatic brain tumors are from lung cancer.
Other types of cancer that commonly spread to the brain include: Cancer may spread to the leptomeninges (the two innermost membranes covering the brain and spinal cord). The most common cancers that spread to the leptomeninges include: The spinal cord is a column of nerve tissue that runs from the brain stem down the center of the back.
It is covered by three thin layers of tissue called membranes.
There are many types of brain and spinal cord tumors.
The tumors are formed by the abnormal growth of cells and may begin in different parts of the brain or spinal cord.
Together, the brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system (CNS).The tumors may be either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer): When a tumor grows into or presses on an area of the brain, it may stop that part of the brain from working the way it should.Both benign and malignant brain tumors cause signs and symptoms and need treatment.Brain and spinal cord tumors can occur in both adults and children.However, treatment for children may be different than treatment for adults.(See the PDQ summary on Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors Treatment Overview for more information on the treatment of children.) For information about lymphoma that begins in the brain, see the PDQ summary on Primary CNS Lymphoma Treatment.