In most cases it is not possible to discern the cause of brain tumors although it is known that they are not infectious. Brain tumors are comparatively rare and around 9000 people are diagnosed with tumor that starts in the brain or inside the skull every year in the UK. In around half of these cases the tumors are malignant while the rest have non malignant or benign tumors and in some cases it is not possible to discern whether the tumor is cancerous or not. This is mainly because it is very difficult to perform biopsies of the tumors because of their location in the brain. It is more common for males to have cancerous tumors than females.
Researches and studies have analyzed and revealed that there are no justified and proven causes or reasons behind brain tumors but yet there are certain risk factors that are possibly known to cause tumors.
Generally as the age of a person increases so does the risk of developing brain tumor although a person can get this ailment at any age. However, there are some types of tumors which are more common in younger adults. Brain tumor is the second most common type of cancer in young children
The only definite risk factor known to medical experts is exposure to radiation. If a person has had radiotherapy CT scans or X rays of the head then it is possible for them to develop meningiomas and to some extent malignant gliomas. Here you should keep in mind that X rays and CT scans are essential in diagnosing some ailments in order to decide on the right treatment. However, an attempt is made to keep the exposure to radiation as less as possible.
People who have suffered from cancer in childhood are more likely to develop brain tumors in later age. Also adults who have suffered from leukemia or non Hodgkin lymphoma are also at a higher risk. Some evidence is available to confirm that people who have had other types of cancers are more likely to develop brain tumors but more research needs to be conducted to confirm this. The relation between previous cancers and development of brain tumor at a later stage may be due to the treatment of the earlier cancer which involves radiation therapy to the head. When the cancer medicine methotrexate is injected into the spine for treating leukemia it increases the risk of brain tumor.
A very small number of brain tumors are related to genetic conditions which are known. People who have any one of these syndromes are also at an increased risk for developing brain tumor that includes:
Even if you have a parent or a sibling with brain tumor then you have a higher risk of developing brain tumor.
People with HIV or AIDS have double the risk of developing this ailment compared to others. The risk is also higher in menopausal women who are on hormone replacement therapy. At the same time women taking oral contraceptives are also at a higher risk although this has not been proven by research.
The risk of meningioma is higher in people who are overweight and have extra girth around the waist. Similarly there is also a small risk in children who weighed 4 kg or more at birth. There are no reliable studies to prove any relation between brain tumors and food or drink because brain tumors are rare and it is difficult to measure diet accurately. The risk might be lower in people who are physically active but there is only mixed evidence to support this.
Although it is believed that proximity to power lines for a long time may lead to brain tumors there is no evidence to prove this. Yet studies say that there are chances to get tumors when this connection stays for a longer time.
Research is being conducted to measure the low level radiation produced by mobile phones. The current available evidence does not strongly support any relation between the use of mobile phones and the occurrence of brain tumor.
Although consumption of alcohol does not seem to affect the risk of brain tumor there is some evidence to suggest that smoking and alcohol does increase the risk. Both the components are a major risk to human health.