In this article, we look at the brain cancer risk factors. As a start, to recap, a brain tumour is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain. There are some brain tumours that are noncancerous (benign), and some brain tumours that are malignant which causes brain cancer.
There are two categories of brain tumours:
- Primary brain tumours originate in the brain and tend to stay there. Many primary brain tumours are benign.
- Secondary brain tumours are also called metastatic brain tumours. These cancers originate somewhere else in the body and travel to the brain. Lung, breast, kidney, colon, and skin cancers are among the most common cancers that spread to the brain.
Benign vs. Malignant Brain Tumours
Even though benign brain tumours may cause numerous serious issues, they grow slowly and don’t typically spread to other tissues.
They also generally have more distinctly defined borders, making them easier to remove surgically. Benign brain tumours don’t usually come back after removal.
Alternatively, malignant brain tumours grow rapidly and can spread to other parts of the brain or central nervous system, which can cause life-threatening complications.
Brain Cancer Risk Factors
However, some individuals with several risk factors never develop brain cancer, while other individuals with no known risk factors do. Knowing the risk factors and talking about them with your physician may help you make more educated decisions.
Oftentimes, the cause of brain cancer is unknown, but the following factors may raise a person’s risk of developing the disease:
- Age. Aging increases the risk of brain cancer
- Gender. Generally, men are more likely than women to develop brain cancer.
- Environmental factors. Exposure to specific solvents, toxic substances, electromagnetic fields, and nitrates may increase the risk of developing brain cancer.
- Family history. While it is uncommon for brain tumours to run in families, some individuals inherit a gene change from their mother or father that increases the risk of developing a brain tumour, malignant or otherwise.
- History of Cancer. Individuals with current or previous cancers have an increased likelihood of developing brain cancer.
- Head injury and seizures. Serious head trauma or injuries has long been studied for its relationship to brain tumours and brain cancer. A history of seizures has also been linked with brain cancer.
- Radiation therapy. Individuals who have had radiation therapy to the head, particularly to treat childhood leukemia, may have a slightly higher risk of developing brain cancer.
Brain tumours are usually serious but may be treatable. In some cases, appropriate attention and treatment may help an individual overcome the condition. An early diagnosis is also critical for successful cancer treatment.
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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.