At Blessing, neurologists and neurosurgeons specialize in caring for people with brain and spine tumors.

What You Need to Know About Noncancerous Brain and Spine Tumors

Although these tumors are not cancerous, they may still be dangerous. If they grow too large or in certain areas, tumors can damage vital brain or spine functions, which can lead to disability or even death.

Common characteristics of noncancerous brain and spine tumors include:

  • Tissue that grows abnormally: Some tumors contain normal CNS tissue that grows too quickly or in the wrong place.

  • Tumors that don’t spread: Because the cells are relatively normal, these tumors usually do not spread to other tissues or other parts of the body.

  • Slow-growing tumors: Many noncancerous CNS tumors grow slowly. However, their pace of growth can sometimes change, over time. That’s why it is important to monitor them.

Treating Noncancerous Brain and Spine Tumors at Blessing

If a brain or spine tumor threatens to damage healthy tissues, we will decide on a treatment plan for you. Our treatment options include:

  • Active surveillance: If you have a tumor that is not causing any symptoms, we will monitor it to make sure it does not press on vital brain or spinal tissues. We use computerized tomography (CT) or MRI scans to take images of the tumor and monitor its location and rate of growth. CT and MRI scans produce very detailed cross-sectional images, like slices in a loaf of bread:

    • CT scans use X-rays to create the images.

    • MRI scans use pulses of radio waves in a magnetic field.

  • Surgery: Our neurosurgeons may operate to remove the tumor if it poses a danger to you. Learn more about our surgical services.

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery: Some tumors may press on delicate spine or brain tissues that could be damaged during surgery. For those, we offer an advanced form of external beam radiation called stereotactic radiosurgery. This technology targets the tumor with high doses of radiation. We can aim stereotactic radiosurgery with such precision that we do not damage the healthy tissue around it.

  • Radiation therapy: For tumors that we cannot treat with surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery, our radiation specialists may use other forms of radiation therapy to shrink them or slow their growth. Read more about radiation oncology.

  • Medication therapy: Because these tumors are not cancer, they typically do not respond to chemotherapy or other anti-cancer drug therapies.


To learn more or refer a patient, please call (217) 223-1200.