Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Brain Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Adult Brain Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Adult Brain Tumors

Incidence and Mortality

Note: Estimated new cases and deaths from brain and other nervous system tumors in the United States in 2013:[1]

Recommended Related to Brain Cancer

Life After a Brain Tumor: One Man's Story

During the fall of 1995, I had just turned 40 and was at the top of my legal profession. But I suddenly found myself getting totally exhausted each weekend. I was of no use to my wife, Ellie, or my kids. One morning while using the treadmill, I saw stars. I drove myself to the emergency room; the doctors there thought I was having a heart attack. But tests showed no heart problems, so I went back to work -- I had to because I own my business. My internist sent me to a cardiologist and other...

Read the Life After a Brain Tumor: One Man's Story article > >

  • New cases: 23,130.
  • Deaths: 14,080.

Brain tumors account for 85% to 90% of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors.[2] Available registry data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database for 2007 indicate that the combined incidence of primary invasive CNS tumors in the United States is 6.36 per 100,000 persons per year with an estimated mortality of 4.22 per 100,000 persons per year.[3] Worldwide, approximately 238,000 new cases of brain and other CNS tumors were diagnosed in the year 2008, with an estimated 175,000 deaths.[4] In general, the incidence of primary brain tumors is higher in whites than in blacks, and mortality is higher in males than in females.[2]

Few definitive observations on environmental or occupational causes of primary CNS tumors have been made.[2] Exposure to vinyl chloride may predispose to the development of glioma. Epstein-Barr virus infection has been implicated in the etiology of primary CNS lymphoma. Transplant recipients and patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome have substantially increased risks for primary CNS lymphoma.[2,5] (Refer to the PDQ summary on Primary CNS Lymphoma Treatment for more information.)

Disease Overview

The glial cell tumors, anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma, account for approximately 38% of primary brain tumors. Since anaplastic astrocytomas only represent less than 10% of all CNS gliomas, phase III randomized trials restricted to the anaplastic astrocytomas are not practical. However, since they are aggressive and often included in studies along with glioblastomas, they are generally managed the same way as glioblastomas. Meningiomas and other mesenchymal tumors account for approximately 27% of primary brain tumors.[2]

Other less-common primary brain tumors include the following in decreasing order of frequency:

  • Pituitary tumors.
  • Schwannomas.
  • CNS lymphomas.
  • Oligodendrogliomas.
  • Ependymomas.
  • Low-grade astrocytomas.
  • Medulloblastomas.

Schwannomas, meningiomas, and ependymomas account for up to 79% of primary spinal tumors. Other less common primary spinal tumors include sarcomas, astrocytomas, vascular tumors, and chordomas, in decreasing order of frequency. The familial tumor syndromes (and respective chromosomal abnormalities that are associated with CNS neoplasms) include neurofibromatosis type I (17q11), neurofibromatosis type II (22q12), von Hippel-Lindau disease (3p25-26), tuberous sclerosis (9q34, 16p13), Li-Fraumeni syndrome (17p13), Turcot syndrome type 1 (3p21, 7p22), Turcot syndrome type 2 (5q21), and nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (9q22.3).[6,7]

Clinical Presentation

The clinical presentation of various brain tumors is best appreciated by considering the relationship of signs and symptoms to anatomy.[2] General signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Headaches.
  • Seizures.
  • Visual changes.
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
  • Changes in personality, mood, mental capacity, and concentration.
1|2|3

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

human brain xray
Article
Computed Tomography CT Scan Of The Head
Article
 
Integrative Medicine Cancer Quiz
Article
what is your cancer risk
Health Check
 

Malignant Gliomas
Article
Pets Improve Your Health
SLIDESHOW
 
Headache Emergencies
Video
life after a brain tumor
VIDEO
 

Would you consider trying alternative or complementary therapies?


WebMD Special Sections