Risk factors of Brain cancer
A risk factor is that which increases the chance of getting a disease. Most brain tumors are not linked with any known cause. Research studies show the a few risk factors that may raise the risk of developing brain tumors:
1. Ionization Radiation
It is a high dose of -rays that can cause cell damage, leading to brain tumor. People exposed to ionization radiation may have increases risk of brain tumors like meningioma or glioma. Read more on types of brain tumors here.
Yet, radiation induced tumors are still very rare.
2. Other Exposure
Exposure to industrial chemicals or solvents is associated with increase in the risk of developing brain tumor. Although there is no conclusive evidence, there is higher risk for individuals who work in oil refining rubber manufacturing and drug manufacturing industries.
3. Family History:
The incidence rate for this is low, and only a small number of families have several members with brain tumors. Von Hippel-Lindau disease, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and Neurofibromatosis (NF1 and NF2) are inherited conditions found in histories of patient families.
- Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1)
Also known as von Recklinghausen disease, this is the most commonly linked to brain and spinal tumors. People affected gave higher risks of schwannomas, meningiomas, certain types of gliomas and neurofibromas (which are benign tumors of peripheral nerves). Changes in the NF gene cause this disorder. Half the number of cases reported to have been inherited.
- Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2)
Less common than NF1, this condition is linked to vestibular schwannomas (acoustic neuromas), which almost always occur on both sides of the head. It is associated with a raised risk of meningiomas or spinal cord ependymomas. Alterations in the NF2 gene are usually responsible for neurofibromatosis type 2. Half the number of cases reported to have been inherited.
- Tuberous sclerosis
This condition is caused by TSC1 or TSC2 genes. People affected may have subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs), which are low grade astrocytomas that develop beneath the ependymal cells of the ventricles. They may also have other benign tumors of the brain, skin, heart, kidneys, etc.
- Von Hippel-Lindau disease
Patients affected with this condition tend to develop benign or cancerous tumors in different body parts including hemangioblastomas (benign blood vessel tumors in the brain, spinal cord, retina, inner ear, kidney, adrenal gland and pancreas. Mutations in the VHL gene cause this condition, and it is mostly inherited.
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
Patients affected are at a higher risk of developing gliomas along with breast cancer, soft-tissue sarcomas, leukemia, adrenal gland cancer and other types. Mutations in the TP53 gene cause this condition.
- Other syndromes
Other inherited syndromes linked with brain and spinal tumors are:
– Gorlin syndrome (basal cell nervous syndrome)
– Turcot syndrome
– Cowden syndrome
While there is no rule of thumb for brain tumor in males or females it has been noted that meningiomas are twice as likely to develop in women and medulloblastomas are more frequently reported in men.
In general the frequency of brain tumor occurrences in older people is high. The age factor differs according to type and location of cell. For example, adults have a very low risk of developing medulloblastomas, gliomas are most common in adults. The occurrence of meningiomas and craniopharyngiomas are more frequent in adults over the age 50. It is still reported that these tumors may occur at any age.
Low immunity in people can increase the risk of developing lymphomas in the brain. A weakened immune system may be caused by treatments for other cancers, treatment to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, diSeases like acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Some cases may also be congenital (present at birth).