ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing a childhood central nervous system (CNS) tumor. Use the menu to see other pages.
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 possible causes of CNS tumors, including viruses. Head injury and cell phone use do not appear to cause a CNS tumor.
Different types of CNS tumors occur in different age groups. For example, some types of CNS tumors are more common in children younger than 3.
A small number of CNS tumors occur in families. Tell your doctor if multiple members of your family have a history of cancer or other tumors, especially when diagnosed at a young age. The following factors may raise a child’s risk of developing a CNS tumor:
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Only a small percentage of children with a brain tumor have an identifiable genetic cause, usually linked to a familial disease called NF1. NF1 is an inherited disorder that causes noncancerous tumors called neurofibromas to form on peripheral nerves in the body, on brown spots on the skin, and on tissue and bone abnormalities. NF1 is also called Recklinghausen’s disease or von Recklinghausen’s disease. Learn more about neurofibromatosis type 1.
Other genetic causes. Other, less common genetic conditions associated with an increased risk of being diagnosed with a CNS tumor include:
The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs. It explains what changes or medical problems a childhood CNS tumor can cause. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.