Brain tumour is a rare type of cancer in human beings. The exact cause of brain tumour is not known; but some factors increase your risk of developing the disease. Risk factors for brain tumour include:
- Race: Brain tumour is known to affect whites more than people of other races (except meningioma, which occurs most frequently in blacks).
- Age: The risk of developing brain tumour increases as you age. These cancers are more common in older adults, but it can affect a person of any age. Certain brain tumours such as medulloblastomas occur mostly in children.
- Exposure to radiation: Exposure to ionizing radiation (accidental, such as a nuclear accident or for the treatment of any other type of cancer) can increase your risk of brain tumour. Other types of radiation, such as electromagnetic fields from power lines and radiofrequency radiation from cell phones and microwave ovens have not been shown to be associated with increased risk of brain tumours in research.
- Chemical exposure: Occupational exposure to certain chemicals (associated with the oil and rubber industry, embalming chemicals and other environmental toxins) may increase the risk of brain tumour.
- HIV infection: The risk of brain tumour is higher in people with AIDS/HIV as compared to general population.
- Family history of brain tumour: Some people with brain tumour have a family history of brain tumour or a family history of genetic syndromes that increase the risk of developing brain tumour.
Having these risk factors does not mean that you will develop brain cancer and everyone who gets brain tumour does not have risk factors. Many of these factors cannot be changed or prevented, but certain factors that can decrease your risk of getting the disease include:
- Avoid exposure to chemicals: Limit your occupational exposure to chemicals such as those associated with the oil and rubber industry, embalming chemicals and other environmental toxins.
- If you have a family history of brain tumour, consult your doctor to know if you need regular follow up or tests.
- Avoiding HIV infection
Cell phones and brain tumour: There is no study to suggest that "high usage" of cell phones increases the risk of brain tumour, but the association of "high usage" of cell phones over long periods and brain tumour is yet to be investigated.
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