One in 161 Americans (0.62%) will be diagnosed with brain or other central nervous system (CNS) cancer during their lifetime according to the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States.
The risk is greater for males (1 in 144 or 0.69%) than females (1 in 182 or 0.55%): About three out of four people (74%) who develop brain or CNS cancer will die from this disease.
The risk of being diagnosed with a non-malignant (i.e., non-cancerous) brain or CNS tumor is about twice as great (14.75 vs. 7.23 per 100,000 per year).
The incidence rate of all primary malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors is 21.97 cases per 100,000 for a total count of 356,858 incident tumors; (7.23 per 100,000 for malignant tumors for a total count of 117,023 incident tumors and 14.75 per 100,000 for non-malignant tumors for a total count of 239,835 incident tumors). The rate is higher in females (23.95 per 100,000 for a total count of 206,565 incident tumors) than in males (19.82 per 100,000 for a total count of 150,271 incident tumors).
An estimated 77,670 new cases of primary malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2016. This includes an estimated 24,790 primary malignant and 52,880 non-malignant that are expected to be diagnosed in the US in 2016.
Pediatric Incidence (Ages 0-14 Years)
The incidence rate of childhood primary malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors in the US is 5.37 cases per 100,000 for a total count of 16,366 incident tumors. The rate is higher in males (5.61 per 100,000) than females (5.11 per 100,000).
An estimated 4,630 new cases of childhood primary malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors are expected to be diagnosed in the US in 2016.
Pediatric & Adolescent Incidence (Ages 0-19 Years)
The incidence rate of childhood and adolescent primary malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors in the US is 5.57 per 100,000 for a total count of 23,113 incident tumors. The rate is higher in males (5.60 per 100,000) than females (5.54 per 100,000).
An estimated 4,620 new cases of primary malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors are expected to be diagnosed in the US in 2015.
Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Incidence (Ages 15-39 Years)
The incidence rate of AYA primary malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors is 10.47 cases per 100,000 for a total count of 53,083 incident tumors.1 The rate is higher for non-malignant tumors (6.17 per 100,000) than malignant tumors (3.26 per 100,000).
An estimated 10,390 new cases of AYA primary malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors are expected to be diagnosed in the US in 2016.
The average annual mortality rate in the US between 2008 and 2012 was 4.31 per 100,000 with 71,831 deaths attributed to primary malignant brain and CNS tumors.
An estimated 16,616 deaths will be attributed to primary malignant brain and CNS tumors in the US in 2016.
From birth, a person in the US has a 0.62% chance of ever being diagnosed with a primary malignant brain/CNS tumor (excluding lymphomas, leukemias, tumors of pituitary and pineal glands, and olfactory tumors of the nasal cavity) and a 0.46% chance of dying from the primary malignant brain/CNS tumor.
For males in the US, the risk of developing a primary malignant brain/CNS tumor is 0.69%, and the risk of dying from a primary malignant brain/CNS tumor (excluding lymphomas, leukemias, tumors of pituitary and pineal glands, and olfactory tumors of the nasal cavity) is 0.51%.
For females in the US, the risk of developing a primary malignant brain/CNS tumor is 0.55%, and the risk of dying from a primary malignant brain/CNS tumor (excluding lymphomas, leukemias, tumors of pituitary and pineal glands, and olfactory tumors of the nasal cavity) is 0.41%.
The prevalence rate for all primary brain and CNS tumors was estimated to be 221.8 per 100,000 (61.9 per 100,000 for malignant; 177.3 per 100,000 for non-malignant) in 2010. It was estimated that more than 688,096 persons were living with a diagnosis of primary brain and central nervous system tumor in the United States in 2010 (malignant tumors: more than 138,054 persons; non-malignant tumors: more than 550,042 persons).
The prevalence rate for all pediatric (ages 0-19) primary brain and central nervous system tumors was estimated at 35.4 per 100,000 with more than 28,000 children estimated to be living with this diagnosis in the United States in 2004.
Estimated numbers of incidence of malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors and deaths due to these tumors were calculated for 2015 and 2016 using age-adjusted annual tumor incidence rates generated for 2000-2012 for non-malignant tumors by state, age, and histologic type.
November 3, 2015
According to a recent study, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of primary malignant brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumors in American children (0-14 years of age) between 2000-2010, with an annual percentage change (APC) of 0.6%. In adolescents (15-19 years old), there was a significant increase in the incidence of primary malignant brain and CNS tumors between 2000-2008, with an APC of 1.0%. Adolescents also experienced an increase in non-malignant brain and CNS tumors from 2004-2010, with an APC of 3.9%.
The four-nation CEFALO case-control study found a 36% increased risk of brain tumors among children and adolescents 7-19 years of age who used mobile phones at least once a week for six months. Since this risk estimate was not statistically significant (OR = 1.36; 95% CI = 0.92 to 2.02), the authors dismissed this overall finding. However, in a subsample of 556 youth for whom cell phone company records were available, there was a significant association between the time since first mobile phone subscription and brain tumor risk. Children who used cellphones for 2.8 or more years were twice as likely to have a brain tumor than those who never regularly used cellphones (OR = 2.15, 95% CI = 1.07 to 4.29).
August 25, 2015
The likelihood of developing a non-malignant brain tumor has increased in recent years in the U.S. According to newly-released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overall age-adjusted incidence (per 100,000 persons) of non-malignant brain tumors significantly increased from 2004 through 2012. The increase was observed among children 0-19 years of age (1.7 in 2004; 2.3 in 2012) and among adults 20 years and older (15.9 in 2004; 19.7 in 2012).
A peer-reviewed study reported a significant Increase over time in the incidence of specific types of malignant brain tumors among adults in the U.S. (see May 7, 2015 post below).
A recent study reported a significant increase in meningioma incidence for the period 2004 through 2009 (Dolecek et al., 2015). Several case-control studies have found a significant association between risk of meningioma and wireless phone use (see May 7, 2015 post below).
A prospective study of 790,000 women in the United Kingdom reported that the risk pituitary gland tumors was more than twice as high among women who used a cell phone for less than five years as compared to never users (Benson et al., 2013).
"Users must be aware of diverse issues that influence collection and interpretation of cancer registry data, such as multiple cancer diagnoses, duplicate reports, reporting delays, misclassification of race/ethnicity, and pitfalls in estimations of cancer incidence rates." (Izqierdo, JN, Schoenbach, VJ. The potential and limitations of data from population-based state cancer registries. Am J Public Health. 2000;90:695-698. URL: http://1.usa.gov/1IHO8FM)
Delays in reporting and late ascertainment are a reality and a known issue influencing registry completeness and, consequently, rate underestimations occur, especially for the most recent years.22 CBTRUS also recognizes that the problem may be even more likely to occur in the reporting of non-malignant brain and CNS tumors, where reporting often comes from non-hospital based sources and mandated collection is relatively recent (2004). Ostrom et al. (2014). URL: http://1.usa.gov/1PTmpaD).For a discussion of the factors that undermine the data quality and completeness of cancer registry coverage of diagnosed tumors see Bray et al (2015), Coebergh et al (2015), and Siesling et al (2015).
The shortcomings of cancer registries are not just hypothetical. For example, Hardell and Carlberg (2015) recently reported that brain cancer rates have been increasing in Sweden based upon the Swedish National Inpatient Registry but not according to the Swedish Cancer Registry. Based upon their results they "postulate(d) that a large part of brain tumours of unknown type are never reported to the Cancer Register ... We conclude that the Swedish Cancer Register is not reliable ..."
Hardell and Carlberg (2015) recently reported that brain tumor rates have been increasing in Sweden based upon the Swedish National Inpatient Registry data.
What about brain tumor rates in the United States?
Using national tumor registry data, a recent study found that the overall incidence of meningioma, the most common non-malignant brain tumor, has significantly increased in the United States in recent years (Dolecek et al., 2015). The age-adjusted incidence rate for meningioma significantly increased from about 6.3 per 100,000 in 2004 to about 7.8 per 100,000 in 2009. Brain tumor incidence increased for all age groups except youth (0-19 years of age).
The incidence of glioma, the most common malignant brain tumor, has also been increasing in recent years in the United States, although not across-the-board. The National Cancer Institute reported that glioma incidence in the frontal lobe increased among young adults 20-29 years of age (Inskip et al., 2010). The incidence of glioblastoma multiforme, a highly cancerous glioma, increased in the frontal and temporal lobes, and in the cerebellum among adults of all ages in the U.S. (Zada et al., 2012).
Risk of meningioma from cell phone and cordless phone use
Two earlier case-control studies conducted in other nations have found significant evidence of increased risk for meningioma among heavy cell phone users:
(2) In Australia, Canada, France, Israel and New Zealand, Cardis et al. (2011) found a two-fold greater risk of meningioma for heavy cell phone users (defined as 3,124 or more hours of lifetime use) (OR = 2.01; 95% CI = 1.03 to 2.93).
The two prior studies did not assess cordless phone use so it's likely they underestimate the meningioma risk from cell phone use.
Risk of glioma from cell phone and cordless phone use
Three independent, case-control studies have found that long-term use of cell phones increases risk for glioma (Interphone Study Group, 2010; Hardell et al, 2013; Coureau et al, 2014). The only research to examine cordless phone use also found increased glioma risk with long-term use (Hardell et al, 2013). These studies include data from 13 nations: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the UK. After ten years of wireless phone use (i.e., cell phone plus cordless phone use), the risk of glioma doubles and after 25 years, the risk triples (Hardell et al, 2013).
Although the U.S. does not conduct research on wireless phone use and tumor risk in humans and does not participate in any of the international studies, there is no reason to believe that Americans are immune to these potential effects of wireless phone use.
In sum, the peer-reviewed research on brain tumor risk and wireless phone use strongly suggests that we should exercise precaution and keep cell phones and cordless phones away from our heads. Moreover, the research calls into question the adequacy of national standards and international guidelines that limit our exposure to radiation from wireless phones.