The Basics

Brain and Spinal Tumors: The Basics

If you are trying to cope with a tumor of the brain or spinal cord (together called the central nervous system), RIBSTF wants to help. We provide information and support for patients and their family members. On this page, we answer some basic questions that may arise after the first hint of a tumor.


Each year, doctors find a brain tumor in over 200 Rhode Islanders and a spine tumor in even more. Nonetheless, these potentially devastating tumors can be considered “orphan diseases”: They afflict relatively few people compared to other medical conditions and so attract fewer resources to fight them. Consequently, as these patients and their families wage what may be the struggle of their lives, many of their needs go unanswered.
A state that proclaims “hope” as its motto can do better than this. The Rhode Island Brain and Spine Tumor Foundation (RIBSTF) puts hope to work for patients and their loved ones. We strive to make a big difference in the smallest state by offering information, inspiration, support, and practical help for Rhode Islanders who have been affected by these tumors.


The symptoms below might point to a brain tumor. We stress the word “might” because other, more common, disorders can also cause many of them. All the same, we urge anyone who is experiencing any of these symptoms for no clear reason to seek medical care soon:
Remember, most people who are experiencing symptoms on this list do not have a brain tumor. Even so, seeking treatment could save the lives of those who do; it can give peace of mind to those who do not. To learn about next steps, please see our diagnosis page.