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Types of Non-Cancerous Brain Tumors

Brain tumors, while often associated with cancer, can also be non-cancerous. Despite being benign, these tumors can still significantly impact a person's health due to their location and the critical functions they may affect.


What Are Non-Cancerous Brain Tumors?

Non-cancerous, or benign, brain tumors are abnormal growths of cells within the brain that do not spread to other parts of the body. Though benign, these tumors can still cause significant problems by pressing on sensitive areas of the brain, leading to a variety of symptoms. It's important to note that while non-cancerous, these tumors can still be life-threatening depending on their size and location.

The Different Types of Non-Cancerous Brain Tumors


Overview: Meningiomas are the most common type of primary brain tumor, accounting for about 30% of all brain tumors. They develop from the meninges, which are the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms: Symptoms depend on the tumor's location and can include headaches, seizures, vision problems, and changes in personality or behavior.

Treatment: Treatment options include monitoring, surgical removal, and radiation therapy. Surgery is often successful, especially if the tumor is accessible and has well-defined borders.


Overview: Schwannomas, also known as neurilemomas, originate from Schwann cells, which form the protective covering around nerves. The most common type is the vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma), which affects the nerve responsible for balance and hearing.

Symptoms: Hearing loss, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and balance issues are common. Larger tumors can also cause facial numbness or paralysis.

Treatment: Treatments include monitoring, surgical removal, and stereotactic radiosurgery. Early detection often leads to better outcomes.

Pituitary Adenomas

Overview: Pituitary adenomas are benign tumors that occur in the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain. This gland is crucial for hormone production and regulation.

Symptoms: Symptoms can include hormonal imbalances, vision problems, headaches, and fatigue. Symptoms vary depending on whether the tumor is secreting excess hormones or not.

Treatment: Treatment options include medication, surgery, and radiation therapy. Hormone-secreting tumors often require a combination of treatments to manage symptoms.


Overview: Craniopharyngiomas are rare, non-cancerous tumors that develop near the pituitary gland. They are most common in children but can occur at any age.

Symptoms: Symptoms often include hormonal imbalances, vision problems, headaches, and growth delays in children.

Treatment: Treatment typically involves surgery and radiation therapy. Complete surgical removal can be challenging due to the tumor's location near critical brain structures.


Overview: Hemangioblastomas are rare tumors that originate from blood vessel cells. They often occur in the cerebellum, brainstem, or spinal cord.

Symptoms: Symptoms depend on the tumor's location and can include headaches, nausea, vomiting, and balance difficulties.

Treatment: Surgical removal is the primary treatment. In some cases, radiation therapy may be used to target residual tumor cells.


Overview: Gangliogliomas are rare, slow-growing tumors that contain both neuronal and glial cells. They are most commonly found in the temporal lobe of the brain.

Symptoms: Symptoms often include seizures, headaches, and cognitive or behavioral changes.

Treatment: Surgery is the primary treatment, with the goal of complete removal. Radiation or chemotherapy may be considered if complete surgical removal isn't possible.

Diagnosis of Non-Cancerous Brain Tumors

Diagnosing non-cancerous brain tumors typically involves a combination of medical history, neurological exams, and imaging tests. Common diagnostic tools include:

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Provides detailed images of the brain, helping to identify the size and location of the tumor.

CT (Computed Tomography) Scan: Useful for detecting tumors and assessing any associated swelling or bleeding.

Biopsy: Involves removing a small sample of tumor tissue for laboratory analysis to determine the exact type of tumor.

Treatment Options for Non-Cancerous Brain Tumors

The treatment approach for non-cancerous brain tumors depends on the type, size, location, and symptoms. Common treatments include:

Surgery: The goal is to remove as much of the tumor as possible while minimizing damage to surrounding brain tissue. Some tumors can be completely removed, while others may require additional treatments.

Radiation Therapy: Uses high-energy beams to target and kill tumor cells. It is often used when surgery is not an option or to eliminate remaining tumor cells after surgery.

Medication: Certain medications can help manage symptoms such as seizures, headaches, or hormone imbalances.


Understanding the different types of non-cancerous brain tumors, their symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options can help individuals and their families navigate the complexities of these conditions. While the term "non-cancerous" might suggest a less serious situation, it's important to recognize that benign brain tumors can still have significant impacts on health and quality of life. For the comprehensive brain tumor treatment in India, American Oncology Institute is recognized as the top multi-disciplinary oncology hospital known for its expertise and advanced care.

READ MORE:- Brain Cancer: Types, Causes & Diagnosis