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A benign brain tumor is a noncancerous, slow-growing mass of abnormal cells within the brain. A benign tumor is much less aggressive than a malignant (cancerous) tumor. Benign tumors usually don’t spread to other parts of the body, but can still be life threatening. That’s because the tumor can press against nerves, blood vessels, and other structures that control vital body functions.
Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California partners with our cancer experts to serve patients through our comprehensive Brain Tumor Program. That way, you can receive quality, personal care for your benign brain tumor in the Sacramento region, from diagnosis to treatment. Find a Doctor today.
Signs and symptoms of a benign brain tumor depend on its size and location in the brain. Some benign brain tumors don’t cause noticeable symptoms, especially when they first develop. When signs become apparent, they can include:
A benign brain tumor can develop when a normal cell undergoes a change (mutation) in its DNA that makes the cell grow and multiply too fast. It forms a mass of abnormal cells, called a tumor. The primary tumor can start in different types of cells in the brain.
Brain tumor experts are actively studying what specific mutations trigger tumors and what exactly causes the mutations to develop in the first place. Past exposure to radiation, a family history of brain tumors, certain genetic conditions, and immune system disorders may increase your risk of developing a benign brain tumor.
At Dignity Health, our treatments for benign brain tumors depend on the location and size of the tumor. In addition to working with a trusted neurology team, you will have a nurse navigator to explain your treatment options with a personalized approach.
Benign tumors tend to have well-defined borders, which means the tumor has a clear edge. For this reason, our experienced neurosurgeons can often surgically remove a benign brain tumor without harming normal brain tissue. When surgery is successful, the tumor usually doesn’t grow back.
If brain tumor surgery is not possible or cannot remove the entire tumor, chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be an option to shrink the tumor. Your doctor may recommend these strategies when the tumor is located deep within the brain or cannot be removed without damaging the surrounding brain tissue. These treatments also may be used after surgery if the entire tumor cannot be removed.
Proton therapy is used when the tumor is located in a highly sensitive area, such as the base of the skull or on the spine. This treatment delivers high doses of precisely focused radiation to the tumor.