A brain tumour is a growth of cells in the brain that multiply in an abnormal, uncontrollable way. However, it is not always cancerous.
Brain tumours are graded from 1 to 4 according to their behaviour, such as how fast they grow and how likely they are to spread to other parts of brain and spinal cord.
Benign brain tumours (non-cancerous)
Generally, low-grade brain tumours – grade 1 or 2 – are slow growing and unlikely to spread. They are usually benign (non-cancerous), which means they tend to stay in one place and do not invade other areas of the brain or spread to other parts of the body.
Sometimes, they can be surgically removed and will not come back, causing no further problems. But some grade 2 tumours may grow back.
Malignant brain tumours (cancerous)
Malignant brain tumours can be either primary or secondary. Most common malignant brain tumours are spread to the brain from tumours outside the brain (secondary tumours) and treatment aims to prolong life and relieve the symptoms.
Primary malignant tumours, or high-grade brain tumours (grade 3 or 4) which start in the brain, are generally fast-growing. These must be treated as soon as possible to prevent them spreading to, and damaging, other parts of the brain and spinal cord.
If you have recently been told you have or are suspected of having a cancerous brain tumour, you will have already met some of the people involved in your care. These health professionals work within a team which is called a specialist Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) which is based at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. The members of the brain tumour MDT are experts at treating and managing cancer. The services provided by the brain tumour MDT at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital includes:
- referral for surgery
- referral for consideration of entry into clinical trial
- palliative and supportive care from diagnosis as appropriate
Brain tumour care is delivered by a multidisciplinary team that meets weekly on Thursdays to discuss and plan individualised patient care.
Surgery for Norfolk patients who have brain tumours is done in Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.
- Dr Pinelopi Gkogkou
Keyworkers/Oncology Nurse Specialists
- Tracey Gibbs – Tel 01603 286171
For further information from the neurology department at NNUH click here.
Patient Support Services
Most patients will meet a Cancer Nurse Specialist (CNS) on their first attendance to the oncology clinic and will maintain contact with them throughout their treatment. The nurses will act as the patients’ advocate during admission, are on hand during difficult times and facilitate discharge or transfer out to other care facilities.
The CNS also works to ensure that holistic patient assessment is carried out and that needs are met; for example, financial and emotional support for you and your carers.
Norfolk Brain Tumour Support Group
Meets the first Wednesday of every month, 13:30-15:30.
If you or a loved one has been affected by a brain tumour, you are invited to share your experiences and journey in this confidential, supportive environment.
Venue: Big C Cancer Support Information Centre, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Colney Lane, Norwich, NR4 7UY.
Tel 01603 286112