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The Anatomy of a Tumor: The Right Treatment Depends on the Right Diagnosis

The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. This complex system controls the things we intentionally think about such as walking and talking as well as those that occur without any thought like breathing or digesting food. Moreover, it controls the five senses along with emotions, thoughts and memory.  The human brain is incredibly compact. Weighing just three pounds, this soft spongy organ of nerve cells and tissue is divided into the cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem — each necessary for storing all of the body’s important information. The spinal cord, on the other hand, is a long bundle of nerve tissue that extends about 18 inches from the lower part of the brain down through the spine, with various nerves branching out to the entire body. The brain is the central computer that controls all body functions while the nervous system is a network of neurons that relay messages back and forth from the brain to different parts of the body via the spinal cord.

A tumor of the central nervous system is a mass or growth of abnormal cells. Primary brain tumors originate in the brain and can be benign (slow growing) or malignant (fast growing). While secondary brain tumors (metastatic brain tumors), which are malignant and more common, result from cancer that started elsewhere in the body and spread or metastasized to the brain. The NJNI Brain Tumor Center provides advanced care for patients with a broad range of central nervous system tumors, including: