Types of Benign Brain Tumors

Typical Benign Brain Tumors

Brain tumors come in more than 130 different types, which are differentiated by where they are located and what kind of cells they're made of. Some types are benign brain tumors (non-cancerous), while others can be malignant (cancerous). Others may have a 50/50 chance of being cancerous.

Some types of brain tumors listed below may be cancerous and their location relative to the brain means they can affect many different areas of it.

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A meningioma is a benign brain tumor that usually grows slowly, but can cause problems.

What are the symptoms of a meningioma? The most common symptom of a meningioma is headaches that are worsening. Other symptoms include changes in hearing or vision, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, difficulty moving parts of your face, and seizures.

How do doctors diagnose a meningioma? Doctors may use MRIs to identify the tumor, CT scans to examine the location and size of the tumor more closely, or an awake craniotomy to remove it. Patients might have more than one type of test based on their symptoms.

Meningioma is the second most common primary brain tumor, after glioblastoma. It accounts for more than 30% of all primary brain tumors. Meningiomas are tumors that arise from the meninges. This is the outer three layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain just under the skull. Women are diagnosed with meningiomas more often than men. Meningiomas are a benign type of brain tumor that can be either slow-growing or fast-growing. They make up about 85% of all brain tumors. Although about 75% of meningiomas are considered "benign," some meningiomas continue to grow after treatment and have been known to recur in some patients.

First stage treatment is surgical removal of the tumor. The procedure can be carried out if the patient is healthy enough to withstand it. If the tumor has not grown very much then the surgery may be all that is required for recovery with no residual effects. However, if the tumor has grown very large then there are chances that there will be some effect on vision or hearing.

The second stage treatment can involve chemotherapy and radiation therapy which are used to kill any cancer cells left over after surgery. Radiation therapy can also be used as a preventive measure if there are signs of recurrence after surgery.

Pituitary Adenoma

The pituitary gland is a small gland composed of two different parts, the anterior pituitary and the posterior pituitary. The anterior pituitary is responsible for stimulating the thyroid, adrenal glands, and ovaries. The posterior pituitary produces hormones that help control blood pressure and body fluids. Pituitary Adenoma is a tumor that develops from cells in the anterior or posterior portion of the pituitary gland.

Pituitary Adenomas are usually benign tumors formed from hormones produced by the human body as opposed to cancerous tumors which are formed from outside cells. A benign tumor will likely not grow into other parts of the body but a malignant tumor could spread to other areas of the body or even metastasize to other organs or tissues in your body.

They can be large enough to cause headache, vision loss, sinus problems, sleep apnea or infertility.

It is also possible for them not to have any symptoms at all until they grow so large that it causes issues with the pituitary gland itself.

Symptoms vary based on the size of the tumor and its location in relation to other organs in the body.

A doctor will then need to perform a medical history and physical exam as well as blood tests to diagnose this condition.

Pituitary Adenomas are usually treated by surgery, which can include removing part or all of the gland or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy and other treatments might be used if surgery doesn't work.


These benign tumors grow near the pituitary gland and can appear as solid tumors or cysts. Craniopharyngiomas often press on nerves, blood vessels or parts of the brain around the pituitary gland. Like adenomas, they can also cause vision and endocrinological issues. They usually affect children and teens as well as adults over the age of 50.

A craniopharyngioma is a tumor that develops on the pituitary gland. It can be benign or malignant.

Diagnoses: A doctor will diagnose a craniopharyngioma based on an MRI, which can detect it before it becomes symptomatic.

Symptoms: The most common symptoms are headache, vision problems, and nausea/vomiting.

Treatment: Doctors use surgery to remove the tumor along with surrounding tissue to prevent recurrence. They may prescribe corticosteroids for relief of symptoms while the patient recovers from surgery.


Schwannomas are slow-growing tumors that are often benign.

A schwannoma is a tumor that grows from or near the cells of the peripheral nerves. This type of tumor is often benign but can also be malignant. Symptoms may include pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, and difficulty with balance. The diagnosis typically involves imaging tests such as MRI or CT scan. Treatment may involve surgery or radiotherapy but can also be performed through chemotherapy if the schwannoma is malignant.

Nasopharyngeal Angiofibroma

Nasopharyngeal angiofibroma (NPA) is a benign tumor that is usually found in the front of the nose.

Symptoms are generally harmless, however, there are some cases where they can cause severe nasal obstruction. The tumors are usually diagnosed using the physical exam or by taking a CT scan or MRI of the head. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation therapy, embolization therapy, and/or chemotherapy.

The key point to note about NPA is that it’s benign and not cancerous so long-term outcomes for this disease are good.

Choroid Plexus Tumor

The choroid plexus is a part of the brain, lining the floor of the third ventricle. Choroid plexus tumors are usually benign and slow-growing tumors that develop in that region. They can often be managed with observation or by surgery to remove them.

Choroid plexus tumors are caused by abnormal cell growth in this region of the brain. The tumor can affect vision, headaches, and other symptoms depending on its location in the brain. Treatment options depend on the person’s symptoms and how fast they grow - surgery may be required if they grow rapidly or spread to nearby areas of the brain.

Dysembryoplastic Neuroepithelial Tumor

This type of tumor is not cancerous. It is a benign tumor which affects the nervous system. It is caused by an abnormal growth of nerve cells called neurofibroma. A dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNT) can affect any part of the body but usually occurs in the skull, cervical spine, or cranial nerves.

The major symptoms are headaches, seizures, and balance disorders like vertigo and unsteadiness.

People with DNT often experience face pain, numbness on one side of their face or body, nausea and vomiting, difficulty swallowing food or liquids, drooping eyelid or lid on one side of their face or body (this may start as a tic), weakness in an arm or leg on one side of their body.

The treatment of DNT involves surgical resection followed by a course of radiotherapy to prevent recurrence.


Neurofibromas are benign tumors of peripheral nerves. They are not cancerous and do not spread to other parts of the body. Neurofibromas can grow as a single nodule or as multiple lesions on the same nerve, with an average appearance of a grape-like cluster. These tumors may have been present from birth or develop later in life and typically do not require any treatment if they cause no discomfort and do not interfere with function.


Hemangioblastoma is a rare type of tumor that forms in the lining of the vessels of the brain.

The symptoms of hemangioblastoma are many and include nausea, vomiting, headaches, weakness on one side of the body, seizures, ataxia, personality changes and confusion. These symptoms can be caused by other conditions that are not cancerous so if you experience any of these symptoms it is recommended that you visit your physician for diagnosis. The treatment for hemaglioblastoma is surgery which often removes all or part of the tumor successfully.

Giant Cell Tumor

Giant Cell Tumors, or as they're more commonly known as GCTs, are rare tumors that form in the bones of the arms and legs. They also sometimes can be found in the skull and typically only affect those between 20-40 years old. Most GCTs are benign and generally grow slowly. The giant cell tumor is a rare type of benign tumor that can be found in the bones and other parts of the body.

The symptoms of a giant cell tumor can vary depending on where it is located. For example, if it's in the arm or head, you may not feel anything at all until it grows too large or starts to cause pain. If you have one near your spine, you may experience numbness and tingling sensations as well as back and neck pain. Giant cell tumors can also cause issues with limb function and mobility.

Treatment options for a giant cell tumor depend on the location and size of the tumor as well as how quickly treatment needs to happen. This condition can be treated by surgical removal, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.


Osteoma is a benign bone tumor. It occurs when there are too many cells in the bone, causing it to grow abnormally. Symptoms of osteoma include pain, tenderness, swelling and deformity of the affected bone.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor for an examination. This examination may involve x-rays or MRI scanning to determine if osteoma is present. Once confirmed, treatment for osteoma usually involves surgery to remove the excess cells from the affected area so that the bone can return to its normal size and shape.

Other Benign Brain Lesions and Cysts

Arachnoid Cyst

Arachnoid cysts are common, benign brain tumors that occur in the membranes surrounding the brain and are filled with cerebrospinal fluid. They cause no symptoms and can't be treated. They form at birth and will persist

Colloid Cyst

This is a mass that locates within the third ventricle of your brain. They can block off cerebrospinal fluid pathways, causing headaches and hydrocephalus, or can be found with no apparent symptoms. They are often removed with surgery, especially if they carry these risks.

Dermoid or Epidermoid Cyst

Dermoid and epidermoid cysts are slow growing masses that form from leftover skin tissue during embryonal development. They are removed with surgery, and they do not grow back or spread. If the removal is not complete, it can be treated without difficulty in follow up procedures.


A neural tube defect, or encephalocele, is a sac-like protrusion of the brain and the membranes that cover it through an opening in the skull. This rare birth defect occurs when the neural tube, where the brain & spinal cord form, does not close completely during fetal development.Encephaloceles can occur in the base of the skull, at the top or back of the skull, or between the forehead and nose. They can cause deformities in either facial features of cranial deformities that are fixed with surgery. About one in every 10,000 infants born in the US will have encephalocele per year according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Fibrous Dysplasia

Fibrous dyplasia is a genetic condition where the body's connective tissue has an abnormal growth rate. It may be present since birth or develop during adolescence or adulthood, and can occur in any organ or tissue. It varies in severity from a benign localized lesion to a toxic, life-threatening metastatic cancerous tumor. Fibrous dysplasia can be classified into five types by its presentation and location:

Type I-Localized Fibrous Dysplasia, Type II- Generalized Fibrous Dysplasia, Type III-Recurrent Localized Fibrous Dypslasia, Type IV- Recurrent Generalized Fibrous Dysplasia and Type V

The diagnosis is confirmed with X-rays and MRI imaging which shows "snowstorm" appearance of fibrous tissue around the bones.


- Pain

- Difficulty walking or bearing weight on an affected leg

- Decreased range of motion (ROM) of the joint

- Short stature

- Poor weight gain

Rathke’s Cleft Cyst

A Rathke’s Cleft Cyst is a benign cyst in the pituitary gland, which can be diagnosed by MRI scan.

It is thought that the cyst fills with fluid or blood when it enlarges. It can cause pressure on certain parts of the brain and result in symptoms such as headaches, nausea, double vision, progressive loss of vision and in rare cases death.

The treatment for this cyst depends on its size and location in the brain. If it is small, surgery to drain the contents may be advised if necessary. Otherwise, medication may be prescribed to relieve symptoms until it has shrunken naturally.

Petrous Apex Lesion

Petrous apex lesions are small non-cancerous growths that form in the bone around the ear. They are usually found in children and develop slowly over time.

The most common symptom of this condition is a feeling of dizziness, vertigo, or spinning sensation. Other symptoms include ringing in the ears, hearing loss, headache, nausea, vomiting, difficulties with balance or walking.

If you have any of these symptoms then consult your doctor for a diagnosis. Treatment options include conservative management (rest and lifestyle changes) and surgery to remove the lesion (if conservative management does not work).

Note: This information is not intended to replace the medical advice of your health care provider. This information is intended only as a supplement. It does not constitute medical advice.

Get in touch with Superior Compounding Pharmacy by phone at (734) 404-6065 or send a fax to (734) 892-2909.