Cancer Types | Brain Cancer - National Foundation for Cancer Research

Brain Cancer

Brain Cancer

People of all ages are diagnosed with brain cancer, but there is more frequency among children and older adults. Brain cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in children (after leukemia).

Key Facts

  • Estimates of 94,390 brain tumors will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, and approximately 28% will be considered malignant – or cancerous.
  • An estimated 24,810 malignant tumors of the brain and spinal cord will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2023, with around 18,990 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis. 
  • Overall, the chance that a person will develop a malignant tumor of the brain or spinal cord in his or her lifetime is less than 1% (about 1 in 143 for men and 1 in 185 for women).
  • Survival rates vary widely depending on the type of tumor.
  • Glioblastoma (GBM) is the deadliest type of brain cancer, accounting for  45% of all malignant brain tumors and the five-year average survival rate is only 5% or less.
Source: American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2023 and American Brain Tumor Association’s Brain Tumor Statistics; Global Coalition for Adaptive Research

Signs and Symptoms

A symptom is a change in the body that a person can see and/or feel. A sign is a change that the doctor sees during an examination or on a laboratory test result. If you have any of the symptoms below, it does not mean you have cancer but you should see your doctor or health care professional so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty thinking and/or speaking
  • Changes in personality
  • Loss of balance
  • Change in vision including blurriness, double vision, abnormal eye movements, light sensitivity and loss of vision
  • Memory loss
  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Tingling or stiffness on one side of the body
Source: National Brain Tumor Society 2023
Brain Cancer Location
will be diagnosed in 2023
deaths expected in 2023
% lifetime risk of brain cancer
Silver Brain Cancer Ribbon

Brain Cancer Awareness Month is recognized in May. To help accelerate cures please make a gift today.

Researchers Working on Brain Cancer

Rakesh K. Jain, Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School
Paul Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Webster K. Cavenee, Ph. D.
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
Cesare Spadoni, Ph.D.
University of London
W. K. Alfred Yung, M.D.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Related Updates

NFCR Congratulates GCAR on its New Partnership & GBM AGILE Expansion

The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) and CEO Sujuan Ba, Ph.D., congratulate the Global Coalition for Adaptive Research (GCAR) for their continued commitment to expanding options for cancer patients and perseverance in the fight against difficult-to-treat cancers.  Recently, GCAR announced its strategic partnership with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN) to accelerate treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients. In collaboration, GCAR and PANCAN will launch the next phase of their clinical trial. Pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers for which survival has not improved substantially in over 40 years. It has proved difficult to diagnose in the early stages when cancer is most treatable. Consequently, the overall five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is just 12%. Pancreatic patients and their families deserve better. Dr. Ba is one of the few individuals who has been a part of GBM AGILE from the beginning, fighting for progress for cancer patients. Dr. Ba co-founded GBM AGILE, the innovative, paradigm-shifting clinical trial accelerating how we review and approve life-saving cancer treatments for the most difficult-to-treat cancers, such as glioblastoma (GBM). Part of the founding vision of GCAR was to expand the adaptive clinical trial approach beyond GBM. GCAR's alliance with PANCAN demonstrates they are taking the necessary steps to achieve this goal and provide great hope for cancer patients. From the Press Release: "GCAR is excited to collaborate with PanCAN to launch this innovative and groundbreaking effort, continuing to work with the clinicians, patient community and industry to move forward the vision to improve treatment options for patients," said Dr. Meredith Buxton, CEO & President, GCAR.  NFCR extends our kudos to both GCAR and PANCAN for their commitment to improving cancer survivorship!  {{ vc_btn: title=Read+The+Press+Release&style=custom&custom_background=%23002c76&custom_text=%23ffffff&align=center&button_block=true& }}{{ vc_btn: title=Learn+More+about+GBM+AGILE&style=custom&custom_background=%23ff5012&custom_text=%23ffffff&align=center&button_block=true& }} Cures for cancer are coming! Be a part of the movment to Make Cures Possible.

GBM Awareness Day – Make Cures Possible with NFCR

Today is GBM Awareness Day. GBM is one of the deadly cancers that has seen very few significant updates over the last 20 years. The lack of breakthroughs is not because researchers aren't trying - they are - but because there is a bottleneck at the clinical trial stage to approve better treatments. This bottleneck is one of the critical reasons NFCR, led by President & CEO Dr. Sujuan Ba, is committed to bringing new treatment options to patients through the GBM AGILE initiative. GBM AGILE is a paradigm-shifting clinical trial system. Our hope is that this can become the foundation for defeating other rare and complex cancers. GBM is the deadliest type of brain cancer, accounting for 45% of all malignant brain tumors and the five-year average survival rate is only 5% or less. Learn More about Brain Cancers. Dr. Ba is one of the few individuals who has been a part of GBM AGILE from the beginning, fighting for progress for cancer patients. "It is imperative that patients know we will not give up on them." NFCR Makes Cures Possible, and we intend to do the same for patients facing the deadliest brain cancer, GBM. GBM RESOURCES FROM NFCR Hope After a Glioblastoma Diagnosis Carmen Rice was given 6 months to live; 3 good, 3 bad. Over a decade later, she is still thriving and advocating for better options for other glioblastoma patients. Watch this video to better understand what glioblastoma patients are up against.  Caregiver Tips Tom and his wife Bernadette were happily living their daily life when they noticed Bernadette’s occasional fumbling for certain words or movements. Tom became his wife's caregiver and wants to share his tips and experience to help others in similar situations. GBM AGILE Learn more about the paradigm-shifting clinical trial system that efficiently tests new treatments, advancing effective ones faster and rejecting ineffective ones quickly.

NFCR On-Site for the Ringing of the Closing Bell at NASDAQ – May 19, 2023

The National Foundation for Cancer Research, on behalf of our researchers and supporters, has made it to the floor of Nasdaq! NFCR President & CEO Sujuan Ba, alongside her colleagues, rang the closing bell on Friday in honor of National Brain Tumor Awareness Month and #GBMAGILE.   This event brings NFCR and its partner organizations working on GBM AGILE into the well-deserving spotlight. Their tireless work to deliver the paradigm-shifting clinical trial GBM AGILE into practice is paying off! This game-changing clinical trial accelerates how we review and approve life-saving cancer treatments for the most difficult-to-treat cancers, such as glioblastoma. As a result, together, we are helping save patient lives. Special Thanks to the Global Coalition for Adaptive Research Team for inviting us to this momentous occasion.   NFCR views collaboration as a cornerstone of our mission. Through working together, we can combine resources and knowledge to make discoveries more quickly and deliver solutions to patients who need them most.   Learn more about GBM AGILE and how you can get involved.    In recognition of National Brain Tumor Awareness Month, please share NFCR's cancer information resources with your loved ones - it may help save their life.