06/05/2012 05:05 pm ET

Benign Brain Tumor: Understanding Sheryl Crow's Condition

Sheryl Crow was diagnosed late last year with a benign brain tumor after getting an MRI, according to news reports.

"I haven't really talked about it," Crow told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which was first to report the news. "In November, I found out I have a brain tumor. But it's benign, so I don't have to worry about it. But it gives me a fit."

Crow told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she initially went to the doctor for an MRI scan because she was experiencing memory problems.

Dr. Joshua Bederson, a professor and the chairman of neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, told the New York Daily News that "a benign brain tumor is a growth that arises from normal cells within the brain."

"Although the growth of those cells is uncontrolled, it is not rapid enough to qualify as a malignant tumor," he explained, likening the tumor to a wart because they can grow if they are not treated.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there are estimated to be 22,910 new cases of brain tumors -- both malignant and benign -- in the United States this year, as well as 13,700 deaths from the tumors.

The University of Maryland Medical Center reported that about half of primary brain tumors are benign.

Brain tumors can cause different symptoms, depending on where they are in the brain, how big they are and how fast they grow, the Mayo Clinic reported. Some common signs may include headaches, nausea, balance and speech problems, seizures, confusion, the loss of sensation in a body part or changes in personality.

Bederson told the New York Daily News that sometimes a benign brain tumor grows so slowly that a person's brain actually gets used to it being there, until eventually a symptom begins to arise.

"The patient says, I've got this funny headache; things don't taste right," Bederson told the New York Daily News. "And that can go on for months or years, until an MRI is done and everyone is stunned to learn there is a tumor."

MedicineNet reported that benign brain tumors are commonly found with a CT or MRI scan -- like how Crow discovered hers -- and most can be surgically removed. Even though they're not cancerous, benign brain tumors can grow to put pressure on brain tissue, which can be dangerous, according to MedicineNet.

Last year, actress Mary Tyler Moore underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. The Los Angeles Times reported that Moore's surgeons were monitoring the meningioma for years; this kind of brain tumor is usually only dangerous when it grows so big that it puts pressure on the brain.

And in 2000, actor Mark Ruffalo was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, PEOPLE reported. He underwent surgery to remove it, and he told People that there was "very, very little chance of it coming back."