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Brain Cancer Stages

in NJ, CT, & MD

Brain cancer develops in many forms and may be found in any part of the organ. While some brain tumors are benign – meaning non-cancerous – others are marked by the presence of abnormal, cancerous cells, and so are classified as malignant, meaning that they represent brain cancer.

Doctor showing brain scan on digital tabletIn general, doctors use four grades to classify brain tumors. This grading system is based on the nature, size and severity of the tumor and is essential for determining the appropriate treatment plan. Learn more about the different brain tumor grades from the expert oncologists of Regional Cancer Care Associates, who provide care to patients at 25 convenient locations in New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area.

Brain Cancer Grades

Physicians use a grading system to identify a tumor’s location in the brain and likelihood of spreading to other areas. Those grades are:

Grade I

Grade I tumors are the least severe type and are usually benign, meaning they don’t contain cancerous cells. This type of tumor is not as likely as other grades of tumors to spread to other areas and usually can be removed surgically.

Grade II

These tumors are similar to Grade I tumors in that they are not likely to spread to other parts of the brain. However, they may return even after treatment. The cells in a Grade II tumor look only slightly abnormal when a pathologist views a biopsy sample.

Grade III

Grade III tumors grow and spread rapidly.

Grade IV

This is the most serious type of tumor. Grade IV means cells are dividing rapidly. Grade IV tumors usually spread quickly to other areas of the brain or spinal cord. The tumor also produces new blood vessels to stay alive. Often, there is a bundle of dead cells in the center of the tumor.

Determining the Brain Tumor Grade

Surgeons determine the grade of a brain tumor by examining a sample of brain tissue obtained during surgery or through a needle biopsy, which often is performed with imaging guidance.

Physicians also use computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the location and size of the tumor, which provides further information to determine the best treatment plan.

Risk Factors and Symptoms

Many factors can increase a person’s risk for brain cancer. For example, if a patient has existing cancer, it may spread to the brain. While cancers that begin in the brain cannot spread beyond the central nervous system, cancers anywhere else in the body can move – or metastasize — to the brain. In addition, exposure to radiation – from the workplace, cancer treatment or other sources — may increase the likelihood of cancer developing in the brain. Having a family history of cancer also is a risk factor for brain cancer.

Symptoms of brain cancer vary depending on how large the tumor is and where it is located in the brain. For example, tumors in the back of the brain may affect vision, balance, or movement. Signs of a potential brain tumor include:

  • Confusion or loss of memory
  • Severe or unusual headaches
  • Loss of hearing
  • Difficulty speaking or processing thoughts
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • Numbness in limbs

These symptoms may represent a variety of conditions other than a brain tumor. Regardless, all warrant prompt medical evaluation and any of these symptoms that occur suddenly require immediate medical attention.

Brain Cancer Treatment Options

Early detection and treatment are vital for achieving the best possible outcomes with brain cancer. The sooner the tumor is found, the quicker patients can obtain treatment. There are many treatment options for those diagnosed with brain cancer, including:


If the tumor is easy to reach, total removal via surgery may be possible. However, surgeons may not be able to take out the entire tumor if it is located in a sensitive area of the brain.

Radiotherapy and radiosurgery

In radiotherapy, high-energy radiation X-ray or proton beams are directed at the tumor from either outside the body or, in the case of brachytherapy, from tiny radioactive seeds implanted in or immediately next to the tumor. Radiosurgery involves a somewhat different approach, but also targets the brain tumor with radiation.

Medical therapies

Medical therapies used to treat brain cancer include chemotherapy, in which drugs are administered to destroy cancer cells; immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the body’s immune system to identify and attack cancer cells; and targeted therapy, in which medications kill or prevent the replication of cancer cells by acting on proteins or other molecules on the surface of the cells or inside the cells.

Seek Cancer Treatment from Regional Cancer Care Associates

The team of oncology experts at Regional Cancer Care Associates is here to provide comprehensive, cutting-edge, and compassionate care for various cancers and blood disorders, including brain cancer, at our locations in New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area. To learn more about brain cancer treatment, contact us today.

Regional Cancer Care Associates — Offering advanced cancer care

Doctors at Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) are specialists in brain cancer. These experts have proven their leadership as professors, clinicians and researchers and were trained at the world’s most distinguished medical institutions. RCCA offers high-quality, advanced treatment near your home. We work with you and your family to make sure your care is second to none.

You can set up an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you. Or, for more information, call (844) 346-7222.


Regional Cancer Care Associates is one of fewer than 200 medical practices in the country selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM); a recent Medicare initiative aimed at improving care coordination and access to and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy treatment.