Brain Tumor Risk Factors: Know Your Risks

January 20, 2020 by Dr Arun Saroha0

Brain Tumor Risk Factors

Brain Tumor Risk Factors for any disease or illness refer to the habits, lifestyle and any condition that increases the chances or makes the person susceptible to that disease.

The words brain tumor instantly sparks distress and worry and the lack of knowledge on the causes and conditions that tumor can arrive at, also it makes understanding the condition more difficult. Tumors are nothing but abnormal growth of cells in the body. Cells that otherwise multiply and form new cells to repair the wear and tear, some time can get out of control and their multiplication becomes unrestrained. Cells multiply and form tissues that grow into a mass of flesh termed as a tumor. When this uncontrolled activity happens with the brain cells, a primary brain tumor is formed.

When the origin of the tumor is in the brain region, it is termed as a primary brain tumor. These tumors can be either benign or malignant. In the case of primary tumors, the cells involved are brain cells and hence treatment is more focused. and directed to the root of the tumor.

  • Benign brain tumors pose a lesser threat as they have a defined line and growth scope. The cells do not invade adjacent tissues and once removed, it is unlikely that the tumor would reoccur.
  • Malignant brain tumors pose a larger threat because the cells grow rapidly and can interfere with other vital organs and their functions. These tumors reoccur and result in Brain cancer.

The other type of cancerous tumors is the secondary brain tumors which are potentially a threat and create complications. Cancer that grows in any other part of the body like lungs, kidneys, skin or colon grows and shoots some cancerous cells in the bloodstream. These cells move in the body and can lodge in any part. When they lodge in the brain, they begin the process of multiplication. It needs to be noted that these are not brain cells. They are cells probably from the lung or kidney and begin to create a tumor in the brain. The complications are severe in such cases.

Risk factors that cause brain tumor

The exact cause for the occurrence of a brain tumor is not yet known. A significant amount of research has been conducted in this domain. However, scientists are yet to arrive at a definite and proven cause. There are risk factors though that can trigger the multiplication of cells in the brain.

Family history

Around 10-15% of cancers or tumors are passed on genetically to the next generation. However, in the case of brain tumors that is rare. But the possibility exists. Genetic screening and consultation can help trace such occurrences and the diagnosis can be done in an early stage.


Brain tumors can occur at any age and even children under the age of 10 have been diagnosed with brain tumors. But age does become a risk factor. In this case, there is not a single proven reason, however, there are certain theories. Like age also indicates the number of years the person has been exposed to carcinogenic matter and thereby there could be a trigger. Another theory suggests that chronic inflammations, dwindling immunity, and changes in tissues create an environment for the uncontrolled growth of cells.

Chemical exposure

Tobacco smoke, poisonous chloride compounds are known to alter the brain cell functions and trigger tumors. Arsenic that seeps in the ground water that can reach our body through food and water is recorded to be highly carcinogenic. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the cancer wing of the World Health Organization have listed certain substances based on scientific research and evidence that can be termed as carcinogenic.

Exposure to radiation

Most people are treated with certain radiations for minor ailments like worm infections in the scalp, which can sometimes trigger tumor growth in the brain. Ionizing radiation is used to treat other cancers which may trigger a brain tumor. Nuclear radiations from radiators or radiator leaks or nuclear accidents like the one in Fukushima Japan cite how these radiations leave a long-term impact on people and trigger cancerous tumors.


Research suggests that Caucasians and African-American races are more susceptible to brain tumors.

Certain chemicals are said to be carcinogenic. But that does not mean that they will surely cause brain tumors. A lot depends on the duration of exposure to these chemicals, the lifestyle, immunity of the person and unhealthy habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and so on.

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About Dr. Arun Saroha

Dr.Arun Saroha is working as Neurosurgeon with a special interest in spine surgery for the last 15 years. He specializes in Neuro-oncology, Paediatric Neurosurgery, Neurotrauma, Stroke & Cerebrovascular surgery including Transnasal surgeries. He has also been performing instrumented/ Non-instrumentation spine surgeries, including minimally invasive spine surgeries. He has performed more than 6,000 Neurosurgeries (Spine and Brain) successfully till date with patients from all over the world.

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