Cancer Home > Brain Cancer in Adults
When brain cancer is diagnosed, the doctor will need to determine the tumor grade. The grade of a tumor refers to how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the tumor is likely to grow and spread. The pathologist (someone who studies diseases) will then determine the grade of the tumor by examining tissue that is removed for biopsy. The grading system for adult brain tumors is as follows:
- Grade I
- Grade II
- Grade III
- Grade IV.
In grade I brain cancer, the tumor grows slowly, has cells that look similar to normal cells, and rarely spreads into nearby tissues. In grade I, it may be possible to remove the entire tumor by surgery.
In grade II brain cancer, the tumor grows slowly, but may spread into nearby tissue and may become a higher-grade tumor.
In grade III brain cancer, the tumor grows quickly, is likely to spread into nearby tissue, and the tumor cells look very different from normal cells.
In grade IV brain cancer, the tumor grows aggressively, has cells that look very different from normal cells, and is difficult to treat successfully.
Treatment for brain cancer in adults varies based on:
- The type of brain cancer
- The size and location of the tumor
- The brain tumor grade
- The adult's age and general health.
In general, brain tumor treatment options in adults can include:
- Surgery (see Brain Cancer Surgery)
- Chemotherapy (see Brain Cancer and Chemotherapy)
- Radiation therapy (see Brain Cancer Radiation Treatment)
- A combination of these methods.
Patients should work with their doctor to develop a treatment plan that meets their medical needs and personal values. Choosing treatment for brain tumors is a decision that ideally involves the patient, the family, and the healthcare team.