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How Long Does a Brain Tumor Take to Grow?

How Long Does a Brain Tumor Take to Grow?

How long does a brain tumor take to grow? This is a common question that people have when it comes to brain tumors. The answer depends on a number of factors, including the cause, the person’s health, and what type of tumor it is.

Read on to learn more about how brain tumors grow, how they spread to other parts of the brain.

How Long Does a Brain Tumor Take to Grow?

Doctors use the term “grade” in order to describe the growth of a brain tumor. There are 4 different grades, and the higher the grade, the more serious the brain tumor.

Here’s a quick rundown of each grade:

  • Grade I – Grade I tumors are highly unlikely to spread and grow very slowly. The usual treatment for Grade I tumors is surgery, which has a high success rate.
  • Grade II – A Grade II tumor is similar to a Grade I tumor in that it most likely won’t spread and it grows slowly. However, it’s possible for it to come back even if it has been surgically removed or the patient has undergone treatment.
  • Grade III – These tumors grow very quickly, and there’s a high probability that it can spread to nearby tissues.
  • Grade IV – Grade IV tumors not only grow quickly, but they also spread quickly. These tumors also usually contain blood vessels as well as dead tissue.

It’s also possible for the grade of a brain tumor to change over time. This means that a Grade I tumor can become a Grade II tumor or higher.

If a biopsy sample is taken to determine the tumor’s grade, it’s possible for it to not represent the entire tumor. This means that the sample that was examined might be a Grade I or II tumor, but the rest could be a Grade III or IV tumor. Thus, regular consultation with a doctor or specialist is required.

Early Warning Signs of a Brain Tumor

How Do Brain Tumors spread?

If a brain tumor is malignant, which means it’s cancerous, then there’s a possibility that it could spread to other parts of the brain.

There are two main ways that this could happen:

  • The first way is if the tumor mass itself starts to grow larger. This is usually what people picture when they think of a brain tumor; a mass in one part of the brain that grows over time.

how long does brain tumor take to grow

Treating this form of brain tumor can be done through surgery to reduce the size of the mass or take it out completely. Doctors can also recommend chemotherapy or radiotherapy to kill off any diseased tissue, make the tumor smaller, or slow down its growth.

  • The second way is if the mass that doctors find is just one part of the tumor. This means that the tumor might be more serious and larger than previously thought. It’s possible that in these situations, the diseased cells have already migrated to other parts of the brain, and have started to invade and grow.

In cases like these, treatment is more difficult. Doctors will have a hard time trying to find out where the cancer is, and treatment will be more complex.

It’s also possible for brain tumors to not originate from the brain. In people with lung cancer or breast cancer, there is a chance that cancer can spread to the brain. This is known as a metastatic brain tumor, and treatment for it usually involves also treating the main form of cancer.

Treating metastatic brain tumors can also be difficult, especially if the patient’s illness is already in an advanced state.

Key Takeaways

Brain tumors are a complex disease that may require advanced procedures to treat. However, there’s no need to worry, as the chances of developing a brain tumor are less than 1%. So long as you keep your body healthy and active, and have regular checkups, there should be nothing that you need to worry about. For any concerns, it’s best to consult your doctor.

Learn more about Brain and Spine Disorders here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


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Growth dynamics of untreated glioblastomas in vivo | Neuro-Oncology | Oxford Academic, https://academic.oup.com/neuro-oncology/article/17/10/1402/1045653, Accessed January 21, 2020

Brain Tumor: Grades and Prognostic Factors | Cancer.Net, https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/brain-tumor/grades-and-prognostic-factors, Accessed January 21, 2020

The Life of a Brain Tumor: How Does Glioblastoma Grow? – Penn Medicine, https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/neuroscience-blog/2018/november/the-life-of-a-brain-tumor-how-does-glioblastoma-grow, Accessed January 21, 2020

If your brain tumour can’t be cured | Cancer Research UK, https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/brain-tumours/living-with/cant-be-cured, Accessed January 21, 2020

7 Facts You Need to Know About Brain Tumors – NFCR, https://www.nfcr.org/blog/blog7-facts-need-know-brain-tumors/, Accessed January 21, 2020

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated May 17
Medically reviewed by Nicole Aliling, M.D.