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The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is located at the top of the brain. The cerebrum:
- Uses information from our senses to tell us what is going on around us
- Tells our body how to respond
- Controls reading, thinking, learning, speech, and emotions.
The cerebrum is divided into the left and right cerebral hemispheres, which control separate activities. The right hemisphere controls the muscles on the left side of the body, and the left hemisphere controls the muscles on the right side of the body.
The cerebellum is under the cerebrum at the back of the brain. The cerebellum controls balance and complex actions, like walking and talking.
The brain stem connects the brain with the spinal cord. The brain stem controls:
- Hunger and thirst
- Body temperature
- Blood pressure
- Basic body functions.
Brain cancer can be categorized into several different types, including:
- Benign brain tumors
- Malignant brain tumors
- Primary brain tumors
- Secondary brain tumors (also known as metastatic cancer).
Benign brain tumors do not contain cancer cells. However, as benign tumor cells grow, they can cause problems in the brain by pressing against sensitive areas. Malignant brain tumors contain cancer cells and are generally more serious than benign brain tumors.
Primary brain cancer is cancer that begins in the brain. Secondary brain cancer is cancer that begins somewhere else in the body, but spreads to the brain.
In children, most brain tumors are primary tumors. In adults, most brain tumors are secondary tumors that have spread to the brain from the lung, the breast, or other parts of the body.
There are many different types of primary brain tumors. The most common primary brain tumor is a glioma, which begins in the glial cells. Types of gliomas include:
- Brain stem gliomas (see Brain Stem Glioma)
- Ependymoma (see Ependymoma)
- Mixed glioma.
When people talk about brain cancer, they are usually referring to glioma.
Other types of brain tumors include:
- Medulloblastoma (see Medulloblastoma)
- Germ cell tumor of the brain
- Pineal region tumor.
(Click Types of Brain Tumors for more information about the different brain tumor types.)