How common are brain tumors?


There are between 120 and 150 different types of brain and central nervous system tumors that have been documented. The standard classification used today by most medical institutions comes from the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to recent data (2012) from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Cancer Fund Research International, global numbers of brain tumors are not as common as many other cancers. However the mortality rate for brain cancers is higher in comparison to the number of new cases each year.1

Globally, there were nearly 260,000 new cases of brain and nervous system cancers around the world in 2012. It is the 22nd most common cancer worldwide with 1.8% of the total number of new cancers worldwide. It ranks number 12 for mortality.1

This higher level of mortality can possibly be linked to the fact that the brain is the most delicate organ in the human body and contains the very core of many of our functions and human characteristics. Brain tumors can interrupt critical brain functions but so can removal of those tumors.1

1 Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F.
GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet].
Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from:, accessed on day/month/year.