OBJECTIVE--To determine the incidence of primary and secondary intracranial tumours in the Lothian region of south east Scotland. METHODS--A population based study was performed. Patients from Lothian with incident intracranial tumours diagnosed in 1989 and 1990 (by CT or histology) were identified retrospectively using multiple sources. Differences in incidence by tumour type, age, sex, and socioeconomic status were examined. RESULTS--Four hundred and forty two patients with incident intracranial tumours were identified (228 primary tumours and 214 secondary tumours). The crude yearly incidences of primary and secondary tumours were 15.3 and 14.3 per 100,000 respectively. The commonest primary tumours were neuroepithelial tumours (53.5%), meningeal tumours (19.5%), and sellar tumours (16.5%). About 50% of patients with secondary tumours had an underlying lung cancer. The incidence of primary and secondary tumours increased markedly with age. Meningeal tumours were more common in women, and neuroepithelial tumours were more common in those who lived in more affluent areas. CONCLUSIONS--The incidence rates of primary and secondary intracranial tumours in Lothian were more than twice those previously reported in the United Kingdom. Intracranial tumours are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United Kingdom, and further research into their aetiology and treatment is urgently required.
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