Brain Cancer

What are the Brain Cancer Risk Factors?

Age and gender are risk factors for brain cancer

In this article, we look at the brain cancer risk factors. As a start, to recap, a brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain. There are some brain tumors that are noncancerous (benign), and some brain tumors that are malignant which causes brain cancer.

There are two categories of brain tumors:

  • Primary brain tumors originate in the brain and tend to stay there. Many primary brain tumors are benign.
  • Secondary brain tumors are also called metastatic brain tumors. 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 tumors

Even though benign brain tumors 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 tumors don’t usually come back after removal.

Alternatively, malignant brain tumors 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 tumors to run in families, some individuals inherit a gene change from their mother or father that increases the risk of developing a brain tumor, 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 tumors 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 tumors 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.

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.