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Low grade brain tumours

Each year in the UK, approximately 4,300 people are diagnosed with low grade, slow-growing brain tumours.

What is a low grade tumour?

Low grade brain tumours are classified as grade one or two and they are: 

  • slow growing
  • relatively contained, usually with well-defined edges
  • unlikely to spread to other parts of the brain
  • have less chance of returning if they can be completely removed by surgery
  • are sometimes still referred to as 'benign'.

Is it brain cancer?

Grade one and two brain tumours grow more slowly and are usually non-cancerous. They are often referred to as 'low grade tumours'.

High grade brain tumours are also referred to as grade three or four brain cancer.

Why we say 'low grade' and not 'benign'

The term 'benign brain tumour' is used less frequently nowadays as it can be misleading. Although low grade brain tumours grow more slowly than high grade tumours, they can still be serious.

This is because the tumour can cause harm by pressing on and damaging nearby areas of the brain, due to the limited space capacity of the skull. They can also block the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that nourishes and protects the brain, causing a build-up of pressure on the brain.

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