A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a brain tumor. Although risk factors often influence the development of a brain tumor, most do not directly cause a brain tumor.
Most of the time, the cause of a brain tumor is unknown, but the Instituto de Oncología Intervencionista (Interventionist Oncology Institute) lists some factors that may raise a person’s risk of developing a brain tumor.
- Brain tumors are more common in children and older adults, although people of any age can develop it.
- In general, men are more likely than women to develop a brain tumor. However, some specific types are more common in women.
- About 5% of brain tumors may be linked to hereditary genetic factors or conditions.
- Due to conflicting information about the risk of electromagnetic fields such as energy from power lines or from cell phone use in children, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends limiting cell phone use and promotes the use of a hands-free headset for both adults and children.
- In the United States, white people are more likely to develop gliomas but less likely to develop meningioma than black people. Also, people from northern Europe are more than twice as likely to develop a brain tumor as people in Japan.
- Previous treatment to the brain or head with ionizing radiation, including x-rays, has been shown to be a risk factor for a brain tumor.
- Serious head trauma has long been studied for its relationship to brain tumors. A history of seizures has also been linked with brain tumors, but because a brain tumor can cause seizures, it is not known if seizures increase the risk of brain tumors, if seizures occur because of the tumor, or if anti-seizure medication increases the risk.
- Some studies seem to indicate that exposure to excessive amounts of nitrites or nitrates (found in some cured meats, cigarette smoke, and cosmetics) may raise the risk of both childhood and adult brain tumors.
IDOI MEXICO highlights the importance of knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor. This may help you make more informed decisions.