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Brain Tumor Word Bank

At QBTP, we prioritize involving patients and their loved ones in discussions about their care and treatment choices. Below are some common terms used by brain tumor healthcare providers.
This word bank is here to support you as you gradually become more familiar with these terms during your journey.

Common Terminology: Tumors

Primary Brain Tumor

An overgrowth of cells in your brain that forms a mass called a brain tumor.

Secondary/Metastatic Brain Tumor

A tumor from another area of the body that spreads to your brain. This leads to the growth of additional cancer cells in the brain itself.

Brain Lesion

A general term that refers to a change in the appearance of brain tissue. A brain lesion may be the result of a injury, formation of scar tissue, or a brain tumor. 

Therefore, a brain tumor is a type of brain lesion.

Tumor Grade

A grading scale that summarizes how abnormal and aggressive the cells in the tumor are. The higher the number, the more advanced the tumor is.


A type of primary brain tumor that grow from glial cells. These glial cells surround the brain and spinal cord and help support the billions of neurons in our nervous system.


A primary brain tumor that originates from a subgroup of glial cell called an Astrocyte.
Astrocytes are a type of glioma and vary in severity. Treatment will depend on tumor grade and tumor location.


Glioblastomas are aggressive primary brain tumors that originate from astrocytomas.
These tumors are the highest grade and require the most advanced care.


Another type of primary brain tumor that originate from a subgroup of glial cells called oligodendrocytes.
Oligodendroglioma's are another type of glioma that will require specialized care depending on tumor grade and location.

Common Terminology: Treatments



Palliative Care




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