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Being diagnosed with a brain tumor can be incredibly challenging, both physically and emotionally. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, but learning as much as you can about your diagnosis can help.

As you work with your treatment team to better understand your diagnosis, there are three important things to keep in mind:

  • Each tumor has a unique cellular makeup
  • A brain tumor can be either primary or secondary (also called "metastatic")
  • You may have more treatment options than you think

Taking these factors into account, your brain tumor treatment team will help you figure out the best ways to improve your outcome and quality of life. Feel free to ask your oncologists any questions that come to mind during this time, no matter how small they may seem.

Are there different types of brain cancer?

Each tumor is unique. There are more than 120 different types of brain cancer, and various subtypes of each. One of the primary factors that will influence your treatment plan – not to mention your prognosis – is the unique cellular makeup of your tumor. Certain cancers respond more favorably to specific treatments than others, and certain chromosomal factors can increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. Choosing a treatment center that takes these details into account is one of the best ways to ensure that you will receive the most appropriate recommendations for your unique situation.

What is the difference between primary and secondary tumors?

Tumors that originate in the brain are known as "primary" brain tumors, while tumors that originate in another part of the body (e.g., the lungs or liver) and later spread to the brain are known as "secondary" or "metastatic" tumors. Even though they’re located in the brain, tumors that initially formed elsewhere aren’t considered to be brain cancer, but rather a metastatic form of the original cancer. Metastatic tumors are much more common than primary brain tumors, and different treatment options are usually recommended for each.

What treatment options are available for a brain tumor?

When most people think about cancer treatment, the options that usually come to mind are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. While these treatments can be effective, the latest approach to brain tumor treatment involves additional options such as adoptive cell therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, monoclonal antibody treatments and oncolytic virus therapy. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer our patients the benefits of a wide range of evidence-based brain tumor treatments, as well as experienced oncologists who specialize in each particular therapy.

If you’d like to discuss your brain tumor diagnosis with one of Moffitt’s experienced oncologists, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online to request an appointment. You do not need a physician’s referral to schedule a visit.