Benign Brain Tumors

Benign (Non-Cancerous) Brain Tumors

A brain tumor does not always mean cancer. If you are experiencing symptoms that may indicate a brain tumor, Dr. Mina Foroohar will carefully evaluate you and order imaging studies such as MRIs, MRAs, and CT scans so she can confirm a diagnosis.

Being diagnosed with a brain tumor also does not automatically mean you will need surgery. Dr. Foroohar is skilled in advanced treatment technology such as CyberKnife non-invasive radiosurgery that can treat even hard-to-reach tumors.

Some benign brain tumors require no treatment at all. Once Dr. Foroohar has diagnosed your condition, she will thoroughly explain her recommended treatment plan.

What is a benign brain tumor?

A brain tumor is defined as an abnormal growth of cells in the brain. Benign brain tumors do not contain cancer cells, unlike malignant brain tumors.

What are the most common types of benign brain tumors?

  • Meningiomas. According to the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS), meningiomas represent 34% of all primary brain tumors, making them the most common primary brain tumor. A meningioma is a type of tumor that grows from the protective membranes or meninges surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

    Meningiomas can occur in any part of the brain. The location of a meningioma will determine the symptoms. Some meningiomas can be fairly large; these tumors are not in the brain tissue itself, but can push into the brain tissue as the meningioma enlarges.

    Nine out of 10 meningiomas are categorized as benign tumors, according to the Brain Science Foundation. Approximately 7-8% are classified as atypical, and only 2-3% of meningiomas are malignant.

    Meningiomas may be treated in several ways:

    • Brain surgery
    • CyberKnife non-invasive radiosurgery
    • Observation
    • In some cases, no treatment may be necessary.
  • Pituitary benign tumors. CBTRUS reports that 13% of primary brain tumors develop in the pituitary gland, also known as the master gland because it produces many of the body's hormones. This pea-sized endocrine gland lies at the base of the brain. Dr. Foroohar performs pituitary tumor surgery in partnership with an otolaryngologist, or ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.

    Symptoms of a pituitary tumor can include:

    • Hormonal dysfunction
    • Visual problems
    • Headaches
  • Acoustic neuromas. A tumor off the eighth cranial nerve associated with hearing is known as an acoustic neuroma or schwannoma. An acoustic neuroma can occur inside the ear or in the brain itself. About 9% of benign tumors are acoustic neuromas. Dr. Foroohar performs CyberKnife non-invasive radiosurgery to treat acoustic neuromas.

    Symptoms of an acoustic neuroma may include:

    • Hearing loss in one ear
    • Ringing (tinnitus) in one ear
    • Vertigo (dizziness)
    • A pressure headache on one side
    • Facial weakness and numbness

This is merely an overview of the most common types of benign brain tumors. Dr. Foroohar also treats less-common types of tumors beyond the scope of this web site. She treats spinal cord tumors as well.