What Causes Brain Cancer?

Brain cancer refers to a mass of abnormal looking cells that grow at a faster rate than is considered normal. There are primary brain cancers which originate at the source of location and there are the secondary brain cancers which have basically spread to the brain from some other part of the body. The causes of brain cancers however haven’t yet been fully understood although some triggers have been identified.

People working in oil refineries or handling jet fuel or chemicals like benzene, as well as chemists, embalmers, rubber industry workers have all been known to be at higher risk for brain cancers. People exposed to numerous dental x-rays, radiation, smoking, viral infections (HIV), etc, also show higher propensity towards brain tumors. And although there are some controversies involved, sweeteners like aspartame and excessive use of cell phone have also been implicated in brain cancers.

There are even some families where more than a single member has brain cancer, but it’s been difficult to prove as being hereditary. Cancers are caused by changes in the DNA when the body turns off its tumor suppressor genes (genes that control cell growth and kill off cells at the right time) or turns on its oncogenes (genes that help cells grow, divide and stay alive).

Human cells grow in accordance with information contained inside each cell’s DNA, and DNA is the chemical which makes up your genes. These genes are inherited from your parents and control how each part of your body functions. While some believe that such abnormal gene changes can be inherited from parents, the general consensus is that they are acquired during a person’s lifetime.

Inherited gene syndromes – Researchers have however found that some gene changes that cause certain rare inherited syndromes like neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis and Li-Fraumeni syndrome may also predispose the person to brain and spinal cord tumors.

Acquired gene changes –It’s not yet fully understood how triggers induce DNA changes in the various cells of the brain (like tobacco smoke for lung cancer) to induce cancer. Other than radiation, there are no fully-confirmed environmental factors or lifestyle triggers that can be linked to cancers. In the absence of concrete evidence, it’s believed that gene changes are caused randomly in the brain, without any outside influence to induce cancer.

Based on data gathered, researchers have now understood that some people are at greater risk than others for developing brain cancer. But what puts them at greater risk is still a dilemma….

The important take-away point here is that with access to so many modern techniques and technology in India, brain cancer is now highly treatable.

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