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A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop brain tumors with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing brain tumors. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

There are few known risk factors for brain tumors, mostly because little is known about the causes. Some cancers that move to the brain from lung, breast, skin, and a few other sites have identifiable risk factors.

Environmental Exposures

  • Ionizing radiation
  • CT scans during childhood
  • Possibly environmental and/or industrial toxins
    • Oil refining
    • Rubber manufacturing

Age

Older individuals are at greater risk for cancer and get more metastatic brain tumors. Metastatic brain tumors start somewhere else in the body and then spread to the brain. Brain tumors in children are one of the most common kinds of pediatric cancers.

Genetic Factors

Several uncommon hereditary diseases can predispose a person to brain tumors.

Lifestyle Factors Related to Secondary Brain Tumor

Lifestyle factors that can increase your risk include:

  • Smoking, which increases the risk of numerous cancers that often metastasize to the brain, including lung and kidney cancer.
  • Sun exposure, which increases the risk of melanoma.

References:

Brain tumor. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated May 28, 2013. Accessed June 4, 2013.

Brain tumor. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/brain. Accessed June 4, 2013.



Last reviewed June 2013 by Mohei Abouzied, MD; Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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