American Brain Tumor Association Offers “Top Ten” Brain Tumor Facts

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ABTA Recognizes May as Brain Tumor Awareness Month

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May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month. In acknowledgement of this time of increased attention and awareness, the American Brain Tumor Association ( offers these “Top Ten” facts and statistics about brain tumors:

1)    More than 600,000 people in the United States are currently living with a brain tumor—approximately 209 out of every 100,000 people.

2)    Senator Edward Kennedy, composer George Gershwin, film critic Gene Siskel, singer and actress Ethel Merman, Major League Baseball player Gary Carter, and Eleanor Mondale, daughter of former US Vice President Walter Mondale, all died as a result of a brain tumor.

3)    A brain tumor may be classified as benign or malignant. Benign tumors usually grow more slowly and are typically more easily removed. Malignant tumors tend to grow and spread quickly, and are not easily removed. Over time, some benign brain tumors may become malignant.

4)    Each day, approximately 500 people will receive a diagnosis of a primary brain tumor (one which begins in the brain) or a metastatic brain tumor (one which begins elsewhere in the body and spreads to the brain). An estimated 66,290 new cases of primary brain tumors are expected to be diagnosed in 2012.

5)    Primary malignant brain tumors tend to affect more men than women. Benign brain tumors affect more women than men.

6)    Brain tumors are the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in people under the age of 20, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males aged 20-30, and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in females aged 20-39.

7)    Approximately 4,200 children younger than age 20 will be diagnosed with primary brain tumors in 2012.

8)    There are more than 120 types of brain tumors.

9)    Meningiomas are the most common primary brain tumor, representing 34% of all primary brain tumors.

10)    Gliomas, a broad term which includes all tumors arising from the gluey or supportive tissue of the brain, represent 30% of all brain tumors and 80% of all malignant tumors. The most common—and most aggressive—type of glioma is glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM.

Founded in 1973, the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) was the first national nonprofit organization dedicated solely to funding brain tumor research. The Chicago-based ABTA is today the only national brain tumor organization funding researchers working toward breakthroughs in brain tumor diagnosis, treatment and care, and providing a range of services that support the complex needs of brain tumor patients and caregivers. For more information, visit or call 800-886-ABTA (2282).

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Garett Auriemma
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