Brain tumours

What is a Brain tumour?

A brain tumour is an abnormal growth of cells within the brain. They are classified as either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Benign tumours grow slowly and rarely spread, but can be life threatening. Malignant tumours can grow rapidly, attack structures in the brain and spread to other parts of the brain. Around half of all diagnosed tumours are malignant.

We do not know why brain tumours occur nor why some are benign and others malignant. Previous cancers, certain genetic conditions and exposure to radiation can lead to a higher risk of developing a brain tumour but this does not account for most cases.

Who is affected?

Every year, 11,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with brain tumours.

People can get brain tumours at any age. They are more common in older adults but they hit children particularly hard. Brain tumours are the second most common type of cancer in children.

75 per cent of children with a brain tumour survive five years.  

How we help

Research into brain tumours is a priority research area for Brain Research Trust. 

We have funded a number of projects including:

  • Research to test whether neural stem cells can cause brain cancer. Led by Dr Nick Henriquez, a UCL Institute of Neurology's Grand Charity Fellow. Read more.
  • Investigation into malignant glioma, a type of brain tumour proving extremely difficult to treat. Carried out by Dr Nicola Potter under the supervision of Dr Tracy Warr.