A risk factor makes the chances of getting a disease or condition higher.

Some risks can't be changed such as your age or race. Brain tumors in children mainly happen in those who are under 15 years old. In adults, getting older makes the chances higher.

Risk changes with the type of tumor. Meningioma is the most common type found in adults. It's also more common in women and Blacks.

Your chances are also higher for:

  • Radiation exposure—Which can come from:
  • Working in oil refining or rubber manufacturing
  • Having a rare inherited disease such as:
  • Having a parent, brother, sister who had or have a brain tumor—raises your risk of meningioma

Cancer from other sites in the body can spread to the brain. The most common is from lung cancer.

It’s likely a mix of genes and the environment leads to cancer. You can lower your overall chances by making changes to some risk factors such as quitting smoking or eating healthier foods.


Astrocytoma and oligodentroglioma in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116413/Astrocytoma-and-oligodendroglioma-in-adults. Updated May 13, 2016. Accessed August 9, 2018.

General information about adult central nervous system tumors. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/brain/patient/adult-brain-treatment-pdq. Updated July 5, 2018. Accessed August 9, 2018.

Meningioma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116926/Meningioma. Updated January 19, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2018.

Risk factors for brain and spinal cord tumors. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/brain-spinal-cord-tumors-adults/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html. Updated November 6, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2018.

Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 8/9/2018