Brain and spine cancer

 

What is a brain tumour?

Brain tumours are lumps of abnormal cells that have formed in the brain. If a tumour starts in the brain, it’s a primary tumour. If it has spread from another place in the body, it’s a secondary tumour or brain metastasis. These tumours don’t often spread to other parts of the body.

As a brain tumour grows it takes up more space, increasing pressure in the skull and causing symptoms. Most tumours affect one side of the body more than the other.

Cranial nerves

The cranial nerves extend directly out of the base of the brain.

Tumours starting in cranial nerves can cause:

  • Vision problems
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Hearing loss in one or both ears
  • Facial paralysis, numbness, or pain

 

Spinal cord tumours

The spinal cord has bundles of very long nerve fibres. They carry signals that control muscles, sensation or feeling, and bladder and bowel control.

  • Most spinal cord tumours start in the neck and can cause symptoms in the arms and legs, as well as affecting bowel and bladder function
  • Spinal cord tumours below the neck only affect the legs and bowel and bladder function
  • Spinal cord tumours usually cause symptoms on both sides of the body (for example, weakness or numbness of both legs). This is different from most brain tumours, which often affect only one side of the body
  • Spinal cord tumours can cause weakness, paralysis, or numbness

Leonie's battle with brain cancer

Common brain tumour symptoms

Headaches

Tiredness

Feeling sick

Vomiting

Changes to vision, speech and hearing

Fits

The exact location of the tumour in the brain influences the kind of symptoms you may have. But these symptoms could also be caused by other medical conditions.

Treatments we cover

Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy, kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy, kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Meet our doctors

Our-doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3BF

+44 (0)121 353 3055

Bristol

300 Park Avenue, Aztec West, Bristol, BS32 4SY

01454 456500

Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 7GU

+44 (0)1245 987 901

Cromwell Hospital

164-178 Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW5 0TU, UK

020 7460 5626

Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Centennial Avenue, Elstree, Borehamwood, WD6 3SZ

+44 (0)208 236 9040

Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, GU1 3LX

+44 (0)1483 806 000

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UA

+44 (0)1732 207 000

Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, MK14 6LS

+44 (0)1908 467 700

Newmarket

The Oaks, Fordham Road, Newmarket, CB8 7XN

+44 (0)1223 907 600

Nottingham

The Park Centre for oncology, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Nottingham, NG5 8RX

+44 (0)115 966 2250

Oxford

Sandy Lane West, Peters Way, Oxford, OX4 6LB

+44 (0)1865 237 700

Portsmouth

Bartons Road, Havant, PO9 5NA

+44 (0)23 9248 4992

Southampton

Spire Hospital, Chalybeate Close, Southampton, SO16 6UY

+44 (0)238 076 4961

Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HD

+44 (0)1753 418 444