Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides information and answers for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
For most types of cancer, the stage of the cancer – a measure of how far it has spread – is one of the most important factors in selecting treatment options and in determining a person's outlook (prognosis).
But tumors of the brain and spinal cord differ in some important ways from cancers in other parts of the body. One of the main reasons other cancers are dangerous is that they can spread throughout the body. Tumors starting in the brain or spinal cord can spread to other parts of the central nervous system, but they almost never spread to other organs. These tumors are dangerous because they can interfere with essential brain functions.
Because tumors in the brain or spinal cord almost never spread to other parts of the body, they do not have a formal staging system like most other cancers. Some of the important factors that help determine a person’s outlook include:
If you have a brain or spinal cord tumor, talk to your doctor to learn more about how these and other factors might affect your outlook and treatment options.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Dorsey JF, Salinas RD, Dang M, et al. Chapter 63: Cancer of the central nervous system. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier; 2020.
National Cancer Institute Physician Data Query (PDQ). Adult Central Nervous System Tumors Treatment. 2020. Accessed at www.cancer.gov/types/brain/hp/adult-brain-treatment-pdq on February 11, 2020.
Wong ET, Wu JK. Overview of the clinical features and diagnosis of brain tumors in adults. UpToDate. Version 3.2019. Accessed at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-the-clinical-features-and-diagnosis-of-brain-tumors-in-adults on February 11, 2020.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Central Nervous System Cancers. V.3.2019. Accessed at www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/cns.pdf on February 13, 2020.
Last Revised: May 5, 2020
Donate now so we can continue to provide access to critical cancer information, resources, and support to improve lives of people with cancer and their families.