Meningioma: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing meningioma. Use the menu to see other pages.

What are the risk factors for meningioma?

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 meningioma, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor can help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

The risk factors for meningioma include:

  • Age. Meningioma is most common in adults age 65 or older, but it can occur at any age. Meningioma is rare in children.

  • Sex. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop noncancerous meningioma. However, men and women are equally likely to be diagnosed with cancerous (malignant) meningioma.

  • Radiation exposure. Radiation to the head may increase a person’s risk of developing meningioma. Common sources of radiation that can cause meningioma include accidental exposure to radiation and radiation therapy as a treatment for ringworm on the scalp, called tinea capitis. Meningioma can also occur in people who have previously had radiation to the head as a treatment for another primary brain tumor like an astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, or medulloblastoma.

  • Genetics. People with a hereditary syndrome called neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) have a higher risk of developing meningioma. People with NF2 are also more likely to develop cancerous meningioma or more than 1 meningioma.

  • Race/ethnicity. In the United States, Black people have higher rates of meningioma than White people. Meningioma is more common in Africa than in North America or Europe.

The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs. It explains what changes or medical problems meningioma can cause. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.