What are the risk factors for brain cancer?


A risk factor is any factor that is associated with increasing someone’s chances of developing a certain condition, such as cancer. Some risk factors are modifiable, such as lifestyle or environmental risk factors. Others cannot be modified, such as inherited factors or whether someone in the family has had cancer.

Having one or more risk factors does not mean you will develop cancer. Many people have at least one risk factor but will never develop cancer, while others with cancer may have had no known risk factors. Even if a person with cancer has a risk factor, it is usually hard to know how much that risk factor contributed to the development of their disease.

Brain cancer risk factors

While the causes of brain cancer are not fully understood, there are a number of factors that can increase the risk of developing the disease.

These factors include:[1][2]

  • increasing age
  • a family history of brain cancer, including the genetic condition called neurofibromatosis
  • a weakened immune system that may lead to lymphomas developing in the brain
  • radiation therapy to the head, including during treatment for childhood leukaemia.
  • Male gender
  • Caucasian descent

If you are concerned about your risk for brain cancer, please see your doctor.