Brain Tumors

A brain tumor is a frightening diagnosis. You're thrust into a world of words you've never heard and treatments you cannot spell. It's normal to feel overwhelmed.

Our brain tumor doctors understand. At UI Health, you'll receive more than the best treatment in Chicago from a team of neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, neuroradiologists, physical and speech therapists, among other specialists — you'll also receive their support, compassion, and understanding.

Types of Brain Tumors

A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain or central spine that interferes with normal brain function. A tumor can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). UI Health uses high resolution and functional MRI to effectively monitor growth.

Benign brain tumors: These tumors contain no cancer cells. They usually grow slowly, have an obvious border or edge, and often can be removed. Still, they can cause serious health problems by pressing on certain areas of the brain.

Malignant brain tumors: These tumors grow rapidly, may not have obvious borders, and can spread to surrounding tissue in the brain or spinal cord.

Metastatic brain tumors: Sometimes called secondary tumors, these tumors begin in another part of the body and spread to the brain. Metastatic tumors are malignant and named for the part of the body where they originated.

Primary brain tumors: These are tumors that start in brain. They can be benign or malignant. They're named for the type of cells or part of the brain where they originated.

Some of the more common types of primary brain tumors in adults are:

  • Glioma
  • Astrocytoma
  • Meningioma
  • Oligodendroglioma

The most common types of primary brain tumors in children are:

  • Medulloblastoma
  • Astrocytoma
  • Ependymoma
  • Brain stem glioma

Brain Tumor Treatment

Neurosurgeons at UI Health perform between 200 and 300 procedures every year. Our staff includes national and international leaders in neuro-oncology research, and our neuroepidemiology team is world-renowned.

Working with multiple-specialty physicians and surgeons, we can access virtually all areas of the brain and skull base. For tumors in hard-to-reach locations, we offer high-precision stereotactic radiation.

Our brain tumor treatment team can perform highly skilled treatments, including:

  • Awake surgery with brain mapping
  • Chemotherapy
  • Craniotomy for brain tumor removal
  • Fractionated radiation therapy
  • Interstitial therapy
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Preoperative embolization of tumors
  • Radiosurgery with Gamma Knife or Cyberknife
  • Seizure disorder treatment
  • Skull base surgery
  • Pituitary tumor surgery