Brain Cancer

Brain cancer, or primary brain cancer, is a disease in which cancer cells arise in the brain tissue. Cancer cells grow in an unregulated manner to form a mass of cancer tissue called a tumour. Tumours can interfere with brain functions such as muscle control, sensation, memory, and other normal body functions. The functions affected will depend on the location of the tumour. [1]

In 2020, 3000 Canadians are projected to be diagnosed with brain cancer and 2500 Canadians are projected to die because of it. Unfortunately, the 5-year survival rate for brain cancer is around 23%. [2]

However, 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour every day, and over 55 000 are currently surviving with one. The vast majority of brain tumours are non-cancerous, or benign. Typically, benign tumours are not considered to be as serious as malignant (cancerous) tumours, but in the case of the brain, they can both be life-threatening in their impairment of brain function. Brain tumours are the leading cause of death in children under 20 years of age. [3]

A brain tumour is a group of abnormal cells in the brain. Primary brain tumours originate in the brain, and can be either benign or malignant. Metastatic brain tumours, or brain metastases, are cancerous tumours that started in another part of the body and have spread to the brain. [1] Brain metastases will only develop if a person already has cancer. The most common cancers that metastasize to the brain are: lung, breast, colorectal, kidney, and melanoma. [4]

More Information

About Brain Cancer

Brain Cancer Myths & Facts

Diagnosis of Brain Cancer

Treatment of Brain Cancer

Life with Brain Cancer

Brain Cancer Resources

Brain Cancer Stories

[1] Canadian Cancer Society, “What is a brain or spinal cord tumour?”,

[2] Canadian Cancer Society, “Cancer-specific stats 2020”, Feb. 28 2020

[3] Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, “Brain Tumour Facts”,

[4] Mayo Clinic, “Brain metastases”,