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10 Facts About Brain Cancer You Might Not Have Known

10 Facts About Brain Cancer You Might Not Have Known

May. 21st, 2022

Brain Cancer occurs when the cells inside or near the brain fail to replicate correctly. The cells begin to form a mass in the brain, which causes a brain tumor.

There is a lot to know about brain cancer, from the different types to the risk factors. Here are 10 brain cancer facts to help you learn more about brain cancer and spread awareness today!

Not all Brain Tumors Start in the Brain

Not all brain tumors start in the brain. Ones that do are called primary brain tumors, which originate in the brain, spinal cord, or nearby tissues. Primary brain tumors occur when normal cells fail to replicate their DNA correctly in these areas.1

Secondary brain tumors are more common and start somewhere else in the body. Oftentimes, the cells will break off from the original cancer and travel up to the brain through the bloodstream. Colon, lung, kidney, and breast cancers have all been found to lead to brain cancer.1

The cells that create secondary brain cancer are the type that come from the original cancer. For example, if a brain tumor is caused by breast cancer, then the cancer cells found in the brain will be breast cancer cells.2

There are more than 120 types of brain tumors

There are over 120 types of brain tumors, and the brain tumor type is determined by what tissue it originates from.

Meningioma is the most common type of brain tumor and accounts for 30% of all cases. This type of brain tumor begins in the meninges, an outer layer of tissue that protects the brain under the skull.3

Glinoma is another type of brain tumor caused by the glial cells that support the neurons, and this type makes up 33% of all cases. It can begin in the brain or spinal cord, and depending on the mutation the brain tumor can be more or less aggressive.3

Brain Cancer Affects All Age Groups

Brain cancer affects all age groups, and experts estimate that roughly 700,000 Americans currently live with a brain tumor. In 2021, more than 84,000 people were diagnosed with primary brain tumors.4

Researchers estimate that 4,170 children under the age of 15 in the United States will be diagnosed with a brain tumor this year. 14,170 men and 10,880 women will be diagnosed with primary cancers in their brain or spinal cord.5

Brain Cancer Can Be Caused by Family History

5% of brain tumor cases are directly linked to genetic history, and some studies show that certain clusters of brain tumors can be found within the same family.6

A few hereditary conditions that increase the risk of brain cancer include Li-Fraumeni syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Turcot syndrome, neurofibromatosis, nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome, and von Hippel-Lindau disease.6

The Chances of Developing a Malignant Brain Tumor is Less than 1%

The chances of developing a malignant brain tumor in the brain or spinal cord are less than 1%.7 In general, men are more likely to develop a malignant brain tumor than women. However, women are more prone to certain types of brain tumors, such as meningioma.6

71% of brain tumors are benign, and 29% are malignant. The type and cause of a brain tumor will also influence how likely someone will survive. A medical professional can inform a patient about their type of brain cancer as well as their survival risks.8

Age Can Determine Survival Rate

Age can help determine an individual’s statistical likeliness to survive brain cancer. Younger people are the most likely to survive brain cancer, with the 5-year survival rate being 75% for those younger than 15 years old. For those in the 15-39 range, the 5-year survival rate sits around 71%. People over 40 are the most at risk when they have brain cancer, with the 5-year survival rate being 21%.5

Survival rates will also vary depending on the type and cause of a brain tumor. The average 5-year survival rate of those with a brain tumor or CNS tumor in the United States is almost 36%. The survival rate for 10 years is 31%.5

Glioblastoma Multiforme is the deadliest type of brain cancer

Medical experts consider Gliboblastoma Multiforme the deadliest type of brain cancer because it kills 95% of patients within the first five years of diagnosis. Currently, there is no cure for this type of brain tumor, but there are ongoing studies to better understand the disease.9

While symptoms for Gliboblastoma Multiforme can vary depending on the type and location, they include:10

  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Changes to thinking and learning
  • Seizures
  • Speech difficulty
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood changes

If someone suspects that they may have Gliboblasto Multiforme, they should get a test done by a medical professional. The sooner Gliboblasto Multiforme is detected, the better the chances of getting immediate medical treatment.

After brain tumor diagnosis, a patient will make an average of 52 medical visits

In order for medical professionals to help someone with brain cancer, a patient needs to make frequent visits for various tests. A diagnosed individual needs to know about the type of brain tumor they have as well as their risks. It’s estimated that someone will make an average of 52 medical visits after a diagnosis.11

During each visit, a medical professional will ask questions about the symptoms and how someone is feeling. Some doctors may test cognitive functioning by assessing the patient’s physical and mental state.

Tests such as MRIs can be done to check a brain tumor’s current status. Appointments may include treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, rehabilitation, palliative care, and targeted therapy depending on the type and severity.12

Brain Tumors Can Change Thinking and Mood

One of the side effects a person with a brain tumor undergoes is a change in their mindset. This can drastically alter their personality and mood, which can make them feel like a completely new person as the brain cancer progresses.

The location of the brain cancer, prescribed medications, and feelings of stress all contribute to brain changes when someone has a tumor. Some brain changes that may occur include memory loss, outbursts, and mood swings.13

Brain Tumors Can Lead to Side Effects in Children

While children are more likely than adults to survive a brain tumor, they often will be left with side effects after treatment.

Some of these include:14

  • Trouble with hand-eye coordination
  • Learning problems
  • Delayed development
  • Infertility
  • Return of the cancer
  • Other cancers
  • Infection or bleeding problems
  • Speech problems
  • Eyesight problems

Children who survive brain tumors need care, therapy, and support to help maintain their quality of life.

Learn More About Brain Cancer

Are you or a loved one at risk for brain cancer? Learn more about brain cancer at The Brain Tumor Society’s website.

Here at Saber Healthcare, we offer a variety of services including memory care, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing. Learn more about the services we offer and how our team can help your loved one today!

Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.


  1. Peri, Camille. Smith, Michael W, ed. “Types of Brain Cancer.” WebMD. 4 September 2020. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:,that%20spread%20to%20your%20brain.
  2. “Primary and secondary brain tumours.” Cancer Research UK. Last Reviewed 29 October 2019. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:
  3. “Brain Tumor Types.” John Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:
  4. “What is a brain tumor?” American Brain Tumor Association. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:
  5. “Brain Tumor: Statistics.” American Society of Clinical Oncology, February 2022. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:
  6. “Brain Tumor: Risk Factors.” American Society of Clinical Oncology, September 2021. 17 May 2022. Link:
  7. “Key Statistics for Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors.” American Cancer Society. Last revised 12, January, 2022. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:,lifetime%20is%20less%20than%201%25.
  8. “QUICK BRAIN TUMOR FACTS.” National Brain Tumor Society. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:
  9. “What is GBM AGILE?” National Foundation for Cancer Research. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:
  10. “Glioblastoma Multiforme.” American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:
  11. “Facing a Brain Tumor.” Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:
  12. “Treatment Options.” National Brain Tumor Society. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:
  13. “Ask CancerCare.” CancerCare. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:,swings%2C%20or%20intense%20emotional%20outbursts
  14. “Brain Tumors in Children.” Cedars-Sinai. Accessed 17 May 2022. Link:,Infection%20and%20bleeding%20from