Brain and spinal tumours

What is a brain or spinal cord tumour?

Brain and spinal cord cancer starts in the cells of the brain or spinal cord. Learn about symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and risks in our guide.

Risks for brain and spinal cord tumours

Risks for brain and spinal cord cancer include radiation exposure and inherited conditions. Learn about brain and spinal cord cancer risk.

Symptoms of brain and spinal cord tumours

Symptoms of brain and spinal cord cancer vary depending on the location of the tumour. Learn about the symptoms of brain and spinal cord cancer.

Diagnosis of brain and spinal cord tumours

Tests to diagnose brain and spinal cord cancer, such as MRIs, are done when symptoms are present. Learn about diagnosing brain and spinal cord cancer.

Grading brain and spinal cord tumours

Grading is a way to classify brain and spinal cord cancer cells based on their appearance and behaviour when viewed under a microscope. To find out the grade of a tumour, a biopsy sample is examined under a microscope. A grade is given based on how the cancer cells look and behave compared with normal cells.

Staging brain and spinal cord tumours

Staging is a way to describe or classify a cancer based on how far the cancer has spread in the body. There is no standard staging system for brain and spinal cord cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) grading system is used to classify brain and spinal cord tumours in Canada.

If a brain or spinal cord tumour spreads

Cancer cells have the potential to spread from the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body where they can grow into new tumours. This process is called metastasis. The tumours are also called metastasis (singular) or metastases (plural). Metastases are also called secondary tumours.

Prognosis and survival for brain and spinal cord tumours

People with brain and spinal cord cancer may have questions about their prognosis and survival. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with a person’s medical history, type of cancer, stage, characteristics of the cancer, treatments chosen and response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

Treatments for brain and spinal cord tumours

Treatments for brain and spinal cord cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Learn about treatment options for brain and spinal cord cancer.

Supportive care for brain and spinal cord tumours

Supportive care helps people meet the physical, practical, emotional and spiritual challenges of brain and spinal cord cancer. It is an important part of cancer care. There are many programs and services available to help meet the needs and improve the quality of life of people living with cancer.

Research in brain and spinal cord tumours

Research helps to find better ways to prevent, diagnosis and treat brain and spinal cord cancer.

Brain and spinal cord cancer statistics

Learn about incidence and mortality statistics and the probability of developing brain tumours and spinal cancer in Canada.