Browser does not support script.
Skip to main content
Find out how we produce our information|
The cause of most primary brain tumours is unknown, research into this is ongoing. Brain tumours, like other tumours, are not infectious and can't be passed on to other people.
Brain tumours are slightly more common in men than in women.
Although brain tumours can develop at any age, the risk of developing a brain tumour increases with age.
However, some types of brain tumour are more common in younger adults. Children can also develop brain tumours.
We have separate information about brain tumours in children|.
Brain tumours aren’t caused by an inherited faulty gene that can be passed on to other family members.
A small number of brain tumours occur in people who have certain genetic conditions, such as neurofibromatosis type 1 and type 2, tuberous sclerosis, or the following syndromes:
For more information about these conditions you can call our cancer support specialists|.
People who’ve been exposed to radiation to their head, such as children who had radiotherapy| to the head for leukaemia, are at a slightly higher risk of developing a brain tumour. If a tumour does develop, it’s usually many years after the radiotherapy.
Other factors, such as mobile phones, power lines and certain viruses, have been suggested as possible causes of brain tumours. A lot of research has looked into these possible causes; especially mobile phones. However, from the evidence to date, we still can’t say for sure that any of these factors cause or increase the risk of developing a brain tumour.
The cause of a secondary brain tumour| is always a primary cancer somewhere else in the body.
Content last reviewed: 1 May 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you| .
You can also follow us| on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
what are these?|