Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors of Metastatic Brain Tumors

A metastatic brain tumor occurs when cells from a primary tumor travel from another organ to the brain, usually through the bloodstream. Metastatic brain tumors are many times more common than primary brain tumors (tumors that originate in the brain).

Metastatic brain tumors can grow rapidly, require space and, as a result, will damage nearby brain tissue. You may have one or more metastatic brain tumors. Sometimes, brain metastases develop many years after the original (primary) cancer. Or, in other cases, brain metastases are discovered before the primary tumor is identified.

About one third of cancer patients will develop brain metastases.

Cancers of the lung, breast, skin and kidney are the likeliest to spread to the brain.