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Brain cancer is caused by tumors—masses of abnormal cells in the brain or spinal cord that grow out of control.

In most of the body aside from the brain, the difference between benign and malignant tumors is critical. Benign tumors do not invade nearby tissues and can be managed relatively easily, while malignant tumors can dangerously take over tissues anywhere the body.

Most brain tumors are benign—but unlike other benign tumors, a tumor in the brain is extremely dangerous.

As they grow, brain tumors push and destroy normal brain tissue and deteriorate a child’s health. It doesn’t matter if the tumor is benign or malignant—a brain tumor is life threatening.

The main concerns with brain tumors are how fast they grow, how readily they spread through the brain or spinal cord and if they can be removed or treated without coming back. Brain tumors tend to act differently in children than adults, so we must continue to push for a cure so no child has to endure brain cancer.

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Childhood Brain Cancer Quick Facts

  • Brain cancer is the deadliest cancer for children in the United States.
  • Around 4,600 children are diagnosed annually.
  • Nearly 30% of all children diagnosed with a brain tumor will die.
  • Survivors are often left with lifelong deficits from the side effects of harsh treatments.
  • Chemotherapy for childhood brain cancer has not advanced in 30 years.
  • Less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s research investments are spent on childhood cancer.
  • 13 children are diagnosed with a brain tumor each day.
  • Over 100 types of childhood brain tumors exist, complicating research and treatment.
  • Brain cancer accounts for 23% of all childhood cancers in the United States.