Background Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) was introduced into clinical use some years ago. However, its use in the diagnosis of cerebral schistosomiasis has not been reported. Purpose To investigate the ability of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) value of DWI in the diagnosis of cerebral schistosomiasis, and to differentiate it from brain high-grade gliomas and metastasis. Material and Methods Conventional brain MRI with pre-contrast, post-contrast, and DWI was performed on 50 cases of cerebral schistosomiasis, high-grade glioma, and brain metastasis. The ADC values of the three lesions, the proximal and the distal perifocal edema were measured. In order to remove the individual difference effect of ADC values, relative ADC (rADC) values were calculated through dividing the ADC value of the lesion area by that of the contralateral normal white matter. rADC values were used to evaluate the differences among cerebral schistosomiasis, brain high-grade gliomas, and metastasis. Results rADC of cerebral schistosomiasis was significantly lower than rADC of brain metastasis ( P < 0.05), without any significant differences when compared with high-grade gliomas. rADC of proximal perifocal edema in cerebral schistosomiasis was significantly higher than in high-grade gliomas ( P < 0.010), but not different compared with brain metastasis. Conclusion DWI examination with ADC values of lesions and proximal perifocal edema might be helpful in the exact diagnosis of cerebral schistosomiasis.