Brain cancer can affect anyone at any age, race, or gender. According to American Brain Tumor Association, more than 84,000 Americans are estimated to be diagnosed with a primary brain tumor this year alone. However, certain everyday habits are more likely to be an indirect cause of developing brain cancer.
Dr. Jennifer Moliterno, a neurosurgeon at Yale Medicine and associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine says that brain cancer is an overgrowth of cells different from that of healthy brain cells that form a mass known as a tumor. Tumors can grow elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain (metastases) or grow in the brain.
Dr. Moliterno also notes that there are different types of primary tumors, with some more malignant and some more cancerous than others. After using MRI imaging, sampling, and tissue diagnosis to scope the size and type of tumor, treatments are then considered, including chemotherapy and in some occasions, surgery.
The American Cancer Society notes that gender can play a role in likelihood to develop brain cancer, however. “The risk of developing any type of brain or spinal cord tumor is slightly higher among women than among men, although the risk of developing a malignant tumor is slightly higher for men than for women,” says the ACS.
Although there are no particular direct links to brain cancer, as mentioned before. There are a few contributing factors that can lead to brain cancer, says Dr. Moliterno.
Smoking and Tobacco Use
Certain tumors in the body can metastasize and spread to the brain. It is commonly known that heavy smoking and tobacco use can often lead to lung or throat cancer in the future, and it can possibly worsen and spread to the brain.
Exposure to Radiation
Dr. Moliterno notes the strong correlation between radiation exposure and tumor formation later on. However, Dr. Moliterno also mentions that there must be a relatively high exposure to radiation in order for it to occur. Individuals who have received radiation treatment in the past can be at risk for this.