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Brain cancer

Metastatic brain cancer

Secondary, or metastatic, brain tumors, which have spread to the brain from another location in the body, are much more common than primary brain tumors. These tumors are also becoming increasingly more common as individuals do better with cancer treatment and live longer, giving the original cancer the opportunity to spread to the brain.

Some cancers that commonly metastasize to the brain are lung, breast, colon, kidney, melanoma, thyroid and uterine. Lung cancer is the most common form of metastatic brain cancer. In fact, lung cancer staging often involves a brain scan.

Metastatic brain cancers will likely be assessed through the TNM (which stands for tumor, node, metastasized) staging system. Sometimes, individuals are diagnosed with metastatic brain or spinal cancer before they realize they have another, primary cancer.

Next topic: What are the grades of brain cancer?