Brain Tumor: What are the various risk factors?

Brain Tumor: What are the various risk factors?

Brain cancer or brain tumor is a rare and deadly malignancy with a low survival rate. This cancer can disturb the way your body works, despite plant based diet can help to prevent cancer to a great extent but if it occurs, can be extremely life-threatening. According to the Globocan Report 2018 by the International Association of Cancer Registries, about 28,142 cases of brain cancer are reported annually in India.

Cancer of the brain can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). When malignant or benign tumors progress, they can raise the pressure inside your skull and can damage your brain.

Read below to know more about brain tumors.


  • What is a brain tumor?
  • Symptoms of brain tumor
  • Risk factors that put you at risk of brain tumors
  • Reducing the risk of brain tumors

What is a brain tumor?

Brain tumor or brain cancer is the abnormal and prompt growth of cells in the brain. Cancerous, or malignant, these deadly abnormal cells in the brain can spread very rapidly, depending on your tumor type.

Symptoms of brain tumor

The symptoms of a brain tumor depend on location and the size of invading cancer. The common brain cancer symptoms include memory lapses, seizures, drowsiness, weakness, headaches that are usually worse in the morning,

Other symptoms are difficulty in walking and thinking, lack of balance and coordination, sleepiness, nausea, vision and speech problems, vomiting, syncope, abnormal eye movements, muscle jerking and twitching, personality and behavioral changes, numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.

Risk factors that can increase the risk of brain tumors

The following factors may escalate the risk of developing a tumor in brain:

  • Previous radiation therapy

Prior exposure to ionizing radiation, including x-rays may raise the likelihood of developing brain cancer.

  • Advancing Age

Brain cancer can initiate at any age. But as age progresses the risk of developing most cancers, including brain cancer rises, with more occurrences in people aged 65 years and older.

  • Gender

Men are more prone to develop a malignant brain tumor as compared to women. Certain types of brain tumors like meningioma, are more common in females while medulloblastomas are more frequently reported in males.

  • Electromagnetic fields

Exposure to electromagnetic fields like the energy from the power lines or cell phones also elevates brain cancer risk. For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) advocates limiting the usage of cell phones and promotes the utilization of a hands-free headset for both children and adults.

  • Exposure to chemicals

Being exposed to certain chemicals (oil products, solvents, pesticides, rubber, or vinyl chloride) may raise the risk of developing tumor cells. Evidence has reported a greater occurrence of specific brain cancer (although not conclusive) in people working in rubber manufacturing, oil refining, and drug manufacturing.

  • Exposure to infections and viruses

If someone is suffering from infection like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease or (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), then the risk of brain cancer is nearly doubled. Other viruses that may elevate the risk of brain cancers are the Ebstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus.

  • Obesity and overweight

A meta-analysis published in “PLOS One” indicated obesity as a risk factor for brain tumors, meningiomas and gliomas among females, and meningiomas among males.

  • Head injury and seizures

Severe head trauma may also induce cancer in the brain. A history of seizures may also raise the risk of brain cancer.

  • Family history

Your risk of brain tumor is more than other individuals in the general population if a close relative has/had a brain tumor. A small percentage of brain tumors occurs in individuals having a family history of brain cancer or genetic syndromes that elevate the risk of getting brain cancer.

Approximately 5% of brain cancer may be associated with hereditary genetic factors or conditions, including neurofibromatosis, Turcot syndrome, Gorlin syndrome, von Hippel-Lindau disease, Turner syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome.

A review depicted that maternal dietary exposure to N-nitroso compounds (richly found in cured meats and cosmetics) or to their precursors during pregnancy may be tied to the risk of childhood brain cancer

  • N-nitroso compounds

Few studies of vitamin supplementation and diet illustrated that dietary N-nitroso compounds are associated with a rise in the risk of both adult and childhood brain cancer.

  • Weak immune system

When the immune system is not working well, the risk of brain tumor increases. Individuals at greater risk include those who:

(i) have HIV or AIDS

(ii) take therapeutic agents for suppressing their immune system after an organ transplant

(iii) receive therapies that lead to suppression of their immune system (like chemotherapy) to combat other cancers

  • Long-term smoking

Smoking can raise your risk of lung cancer and can also increase brain tumor risk.

Reducing the risk of brain tumors

You can minimize your risk of getting a brain tumor if you:

  • avoid smoking
  • avoid exposure to carcinogenic chemicals
  • avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation
  • avoid exposure to pesticides and insecticides

The brain is one of the most vital organ of your body and any serious damage to it is alarming. Early diagnosis and management of tumors that tend to metastasize to the brain may minimize the risk of metastatic brain cancer. Early brain tumor treatment can help to avoid complications that can occur as the invading cancer hampers functioning of the brain, and also puts immense pressure on your brain tissue.

Fighting brain cancer on all fronts through awareness, investigation, and supportive care is the only way to save lives and decrease long-term disabilities. Be alert about the causes and risk factors of the brain tumor. This may raise your life span and aid to defeat brain tumors. Consult your physician if you’re tensed about any symptoms you are encountering.

You can also explore “Association between Blue Light and Development of Uveal Melanoma”.

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