A brain tumour is a growth of cells in the brain that multiplies in an abnormal, uncontrollable way. It can either be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). Brain tumours are graded from 1 to 4 according to their behaviour, such as how fast they grow and how likely they are to grow back after treatment.
Benign brain tumours are low grade (grade 1 or 2), which means they grow slowly and are less likely to return after treatment. Malignant brain tumours are high grade (grade 3 or 4) and either start in the brain as a primary tumour or spread into the brain from elsewhere as secondary tumours; malignant tumours are more likely to grow back after treatment.
Brain tumours can affect people of any age, including children. Brain Tumours are the number one cancer killer of UK Children and more Adults under 40 die of brain tumours than any other cancer. More than 9,000 people are diagnosed with primary brain tumours in the UK each year, of which about half are benign and half are malignant. Many others are diagnosed with secondary brain tumours, bringing the total number of people affected by a brain tumour in the UK to 16,000 per year.
As brain tumours are located in the control centre for thought, emotion and movement they can dramatically affect physical and cognitive abilities. The impact of any type of brain tumour can have a devastating effect; patients can face losing the ability to hear, see or speak, and potentially partial or full paralysis. Patients can also be affected by other neurological conditions like Acquired Brain injury and Epilepsy as a direct result of their brain tumour.