Any foreign tissue that is born inside the skull cavity is called a brain tumor, although these also sometimes appear in the meninges, nerves, and in the skull itself. For obvious reasons, they are one of the main health problems affecting the nervous system, given their potential seriousness.

In general, brain tumors are most recurrent during childhood , with some tumors being more common to see at this stage of development, such as medulloblastomas. There are also those that occur mainly in adulthood, with meningiomas and schwannomas being distinctive of this stage.

We will now review the main characteristics of this type of disease, its symptoms and the types of brain tumors that are most common.

Symptoms of brain tumor

The symptoms are variable, depending largely on the size of the tumor, where it is located, and even the speed of growth.

Constant headache would be the symptom par excellence in this condition. Other harmful effects would be the following: various cognitive or sensorimotor disorders, increased intracranial pressure that generates vomiting, diplopia (double vision), birth of ellipetrogenic foci, etc.

Types of brain tumors and classification

Brain tumors can be classified in the following ways:

1. Primary and secondary

Primaries arise within the brain or spinal cord, and rarely produce metastases (spread of the tumor to another part of the body); although it is likely that, as a result of this initial tumor, new ones will arise within the nervous system itself.

The secondary ones are born outside the nervous system and what is known as brain metastasis occurs. That is to say, it can arise as a consequence of some breast, lung, gastrointestinal cancer, etc. It should be noted that this type of tumor is malignant and inoperable.

2. Infiltrants and encapsulations

Infiltrators are distinguished by the fact that there is no limit to where they start and end, and in the encapsulations if it is possible to distinguish better what place they occupy.

Therefore, the former tend to be more dangerous, since as they spread, they tend to deteriorate the area in which they are located.

3. Benign and malignant

There is a scale with various degrees of hierarchy , which allows you to know when you belong on one side and when on the other. Those that are grade I are the least harmful (although they are also considerably dangerous when removed), and those that belong to IV are the worst prognosis.

In general, tumours that belong to category I and II do not generate metastasis , and the survival of those who suffer from them is generally several years; while those that are III and IV do cause metastasis and the survival does not go beyond a few/several months.

Cancer in the Nervous System: Examples

Here you can see a brief description of several types of tumors that appear in the nervous system.


This is the name given to any tumor that arises from a significant spread of neuroglias . They are of the malignant type.

It is usually caused by an increase in astrocytes (thus generating astrocytomas); in some cases oligodendrocytes (producing oligodendrocytomas) and multiform gliomas, also known as grade IV gliomas.


Tumors of non-glial origin that originate in the meninges, mainly in the subarachnoid space or the dura mater, are so called. They are usually benign and have a good prognosis.


This is how malignant tumors that are born very commonly in the cerebellum of children are called because of the growth of germ cells that access the cerebellum or lower part of the brain stem. It has a poor prognosis.


Benign tumors that arise from Schwann cells (whose main function is to produce the myelin that coats the axons in the Peripheral Nervous System) are known in this way. They can exist in both cranial and spinal nerves.

Bibliographic references:

  • Antonio, P. P. (2010). Introduction to Neuropsychology. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.