Brain tumors can be benign (non-cancerous, not likely to spread) or malignant (cancerous, able to spread). Malignant brain tumors are further classified into grades based on how aggressively they are likely to spread. Tumors that begin in the brain are called primary brain tumors; tumors that have spread from another location are called secondary tumors.
The symptoms of a brain tumor tend to depend on its size and exact location within the brain. Brain tumors may cause problems throughout the body, though, as they increase pressure within the confines of the skull or interfere with the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid. These problems often cause headaches (especially in the morning), nausea, vomiting, seizures, personality changes, or other symptoms. (Please note that while brain tumors may often cause headaches, nausea and vomiting, they are not the most common cause of these symptoms.)
Small, slow-growing, benign brain tumors are sometimes simply monitored to see whether they need treatment. More aggressive tumors, or tumors that interfere with the tissue around them, are often treated with surgery. Tumor tissue removed during surgery can be analyzed to get more information about the tumor and guide treatment decisions. In other cases, a biopsy (tissue sample) may be taken in a separate procedure from tumor removal.
Below are two videos of Dr. Sisti sharing his knowledge of and treatment for 1) metastatic and 2) malignant brain tumors.