Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Central Nervous System - Childhood

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 5/2013
Risk Factors


ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about what factors increase the chance of a CNS tumor. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a tumor. Although risk factors often influence the development of a tumor, most do not directly cause a tumor. Some people with several risk factors never develop a tumor, while others with no known risk factors do.

The cause of most CNS tumors in children is not known. Researchers are studying a variety of possible causes of CNS tumors, including viruses. Different types of CNS tumors occur in different age groups. For example, some types of CNS tumors are more common in children younger than three. Head injury does not appear to cause a CNS tumor.

A small number of CNS tumors occur in families. However, only a small percentage of children with a brain tumor have an identifiable genetic cause, usually in association with a familial disease called neurofibromatosis. Neurofibromatosis is an inherited disorder that causes neurofibromas (noncancerous tumors) to form on peripheral nerves in the body, brown spots on the skin, and tissue and bone abnormalities. Neurofibromatosis is also called Recklinghausen’s disease or von Recklinghausen’s disease. Learn more about neurofibromatosis Type 1 and neurofibromatosis Type 2. Other, less common genetic conditions associated with a higher risk of a CNS tumor include Li-Fraumeni syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, nevoid basal cell syndrome, and Turcot syndrome.

Choose “Next” (below, right) to continue reading this guide to learn about what symptoms a CNS tumor can cause. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.

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