Metastatic vs. Primary Brain Tumors
The majority of tumors found in the brain are not, in fact, brain cancers, but are cancers from other parts of the body that have spread to the brain. Cancers that have spread from another part of the body are called metastatic cancers. The word metastatic comes from the Greek word methistanai meaning “to change”. Breast cancer, lung cancer and melanoma “a skin cancer” are the most common sources of metastatic brain cancer. The treatment of these brain cancers usually focuses on treating the original or primary cancer. Brain tumors that arise from brain cells and related structures are primary brain cancers, to indicate that they are not metastatic. This website focuses on primary tumors of the brain and spinal cord, although we do have sections on the metastatic cancers as well. Except in these sections, when we talk about brain tumors, we will be talking about primary brain tumors.