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Tumors that start in the brain are called primary brain tumors.
Primary brain tumors may spread to other parts of the brain or to the spine. Often, tumors found in the brain have started somewhere else in the body and spread to one or more parts of the brain.
These are called metastatic brain tumors (or brain metastases).
Metastatic brain tumors are more common than 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.
The tumors are formed by the abnormal growth of cells and may begin in different parts of the brain or spinal cord.
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.
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.
It is covered by three thin layers of tissue called membranes.