What are brain and spinal cord tumours?
The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system. A tumour occurs when abnormal cells grow and form a mass in the brain or spine.
Brain tumours, which are also called brain cancer, are one of the most common cancers in adolescents and young adults and the leading cause of cancer death in young adults.
Brain tumours are grouped into two main types:
- Malignant: these are cancerous tumours that can spread to other parts of the brain or spinal cord
- Benign: these are non-cancerous tumours that are slow growing and are unlikely to spread
Malignant brain tumours can be primary or secondary. Primary brain tumours start in the brain. Secondary brain tumours occur when cancer starts in another part of the body and spreads (metastasises) to the brain.
Specialist treatment and support for young people diagnosed with brain and spinal cord tumours
Specialist treatment and support for young people with cancer aged 15-25 is provided by the Youth Cancer Services (YCS) based in major hospitals throughout Australia. Canteen also offers events and other support for young people with cancer.
Types of brain tumours
Brain tumours are named after the type of cell in which they start.
Common types of primary brain tumours include:
- Gliomas, including astrocytomas, glioblastomas and oligodendrogliomas
Astrocytomas are the most common type of brain tumour in young people.
Canteen is running a clinical trial that hopes to give adolescents and young adults with medulloblastoma access to state-of-the-art tumour profiling and targeted therapies to improve treatments, reduce side effects and improve cure rates.
Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumour? Get support:
Counselling and individual support
Canteen's counsellors and psychologists are specially trained to understand the challenges that cancer brings. Our counselling services are confidential and completely free.
Events & programs
Connect with other young people who know what you're going through and get some much-needed space away from the daily pressures of living with cancer.
When cancer’s in your life, Canteen is in your corner.
Cancer affects everyone differently. That’s why Canteen provides a wide range of support services to help you overcome the specific challenges you’re dealing with.