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Neurosciences and Behavioral Health Center

Brain Tumor Types

Imaging scans of the brain showing a possible brain tumor.What is a Brain Tumor?

A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain.

Benign tumors: 

  • Do not contain cancer cells
  • Usually, once removed, do not recur
  • Do not invade surrounding tissue
  • Can cause symptoms similar to cancerous tumors because of their size and location in the brain

Malignant brain tumors:

  • Contain cancer cells
  • Grow fast
  • Invade surrounding tissue
  • May recur after treatment

Metastatic brain tumors begin to grow in one part of the body, then spread to the brain through the bloodstream. Common types of cancer that can travel to the brain include lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma (a type of skin cancer) and colon cancer. All of these cancers are considered malignant once they have spread to the brain.

Find out how we treat brain metastases at UVA.

Types of Brain Tumors


The most common type of brain tumor is a glioma. Gliomas begin from glial cells, which form the supportive tissue of the brain. There are several types of gliomas, categorized by where they are found and the type of cells that originated the tumor.

Types of glial tumors include:

Other types of brain tumors:

Some tumors occur more often in children than adults. Learn about our pediatric neuro-oncology expertise at the UVA Children's Hospital.

Visit the Clinic

We see patients on the third floor of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center.

Make an appointment, get maps, hours, directions to Neuro-Oncology.