Cancer Home > Brain Cancer

What Causes It?

No one knows the exact causes of brain cancer, and doctors can seldom explain why one person will get it and another person will not. However, research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop brain cancer. Specific risk factors for brain cancer include:
  • Being male
  • Race
  • Age
  • Family history
  • Exposure to radiation or to certain chemicals.
(Click Causes of Brain Cancer for more information about possible causes of this disease.)


Symptoms of brain cancer will depend on the tumor size, type, and location. A person may experience symptoms:
  • When a tumor presses on a nerve
  • When a tumor damages a certain area of the brain
  • When the brain swells
  • When fluid builds up within the skull.
Common symptoms of brain cancer include:
  • Headaches (that are usually worse in the morning)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Changes in speech, vision, or hearing
  • Problems balancing or walking
  • Changes in mood, personality, or ability to concentrate
  • Problems with memory
  • Muscle jerking or twitching (seizures or convulsions)
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.
These possible brain cancer symptoms are not sure signs of a brain tumor. Other health problems can also cause these symptoms. People who have potential brain tumor symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible, because only a doctor can diagnose and treat the problem.
(Click Brain Tumor Symptoms for more information about the symptoms of brain cancer.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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