Brain Tumor - Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with a brain tumor each year. You will also learn some general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

A primary brain or spinal cord tumor is one that starts in the brain or spinal cord. This year, an estimated 78,000 people will be diagnosed with primary tumors of the brain and central nervous system. This number includes 23,770 adults (13,350 men and 10,420 women) in the United States who will be diagnosed with primary cancerous tumors of the brain and spinal cord this year.

This number also includes more than 4,000 children and teens who will be diagnosed with a brain or central nervous system tumor this year. This rest of this guide deals with adult primary brain tumors. Learn about brain tumors in children.

In addition to primary brain tumors, there are also secondary brain tumors or brain metastases. This is when the tumor started somewhere else in the body and spread to the brain. The most common cancers that spread to the brain are bladder, breast, kidney, and lung cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, and melanoma. This guide covers primary adult brain tumors only.

It is estimated that 16,050 adults (9,440 men and 6,610 women) will die from primary cancerous brain and CNS tumors this year.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for people with brain or central nervous system cancer varies widely and depends on several factors, including the type of brain or spinal cord tumor. Talk with your doctor about what to expect with your diagnosis.

It is important to remember that statistics on how many people survive this type of tumor are an estimate. The estimate comes from data based on thousands of people with this tumor in the United States each year. So, your own risk may be different. Doctors cannot say for sure how long anyone will live with a brain or spinal cord tumor. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. This means that the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Brain Tumor Association; the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States; the National Cancer Institute; National Institute of Health; and the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2016.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by this disease. Or, use the menu on the left side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.