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Causes and risk factors of Brain tumors

Causes and risk factors of Brain tumors
in Neurosurgery

Apr 19, 2022

Brain tumors include both the brain cancer and noncancerous brain lesions. Brain Cancer

(glioblastoma) has overall very poor survival rate. Noncancerous tumors (Meningioma) have a better prognosis and usually do not reoccur if removed completely.

As such, there is no specific cause of brain tumors but there are certain risk factors. Remember risk factors don’t necessarily always cause cancer but they can put you in the risk bracket for the same.

The risk factors associated with Brain Tumor/Brain Cancer/Glioblastomas is:

  • Age– Although people of any age can develop a brain tumor they are more common in children and older adults.
  • Gender– In general, men are more likely than women to develop a brain tumor. However, some specific types of brain tumors, such as meningioma, are more common in women.
  • Home and work exposures– Exposure to solvents, pesticides, oil products, rubber, or vinyl chloride may increase the risk of developing a brain tumor.
  • Family history- About 5% of brain tumors may be linked to hereditary genetic factors or conditions.
  • Exposure to infections, viruses, and allergens– Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) increases the risk of CNS lymphoma. Studies have shown that patients with a history of allergies or skin conditions have a “lower risk” of glioma.
  • Electromagnetic fields– Most studies evaluating the role of electromagnetic fields, such as energy from power lines or from cell phone use, show no link to an increased risk of developing a brain tumor in adults, however, some studies show increased risk in animal models. Because of conflicting information regarding risk in children, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends limiting cell phone use and promotes the use of a hands-free headset for both adults and children.
  • Race and ethnicity- White people are more likely to develop gliomas but less likely to develop meningioma than black people.
  • Ionizing radiation- Previous treatment to the brain or head with ionizing radiation, including x-rays, has been shown to be a risk factor for a brain tumor.

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