Causes of Brain Cancer

Primary brain tumors which develop in the brain or the surrounding tissues occur due to mutations in the normal cells. These mutations cause the cells to grow at an accelerated pace and this leads to the formation of a mass of cells commonly known as – a tumor. There are various types of primary brain tumors which may develop in the brain, the pituitary gland, cranial nerves and brain membranes.

Secondary or metastatic brain tumors are those which occur due to cancer that begins in other parts of the body and then spreads to the brain. They are known to occur usually in individuals who have a history of cancer. These are more common than primary brain tumors. Any type of cancer can travel to the brain including:

  • Colon cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Skin cancer

There are some risk factors which may increase a person's risk of developing a brain tumor. These include the following:

  • Brain tumors are known to develop more often in certain races.
  • The risk of developing a brain tumor increases with age. However it is possible for a brain tumor to occur at any age. There are also certain types of brain tumors which occur almost only in children.
  • People who are exposed to radiation are at a higher risk of brain cancer.
  • Individuals who are exposed to chemicals due to their professions are also at a higher risk of developing brain tumors.
  • A family history of brain tumors or genetic conditions may increase the risk of brain cancer.

The following complications can occur as a result of a brain tumor:

  • If the tumor affects the area of the brain which controls movement or strength, it could cause weakness in the affected area.
  • When the brain tumor affects the area that regulates visual information or the nerves which connect the eyes, there may visual disturbances.
  • A brain tumor may exert pressure inside the brain and this may lead to severe and persistent headaches along with nausea and vomiting. Headaches may also occur due to fluid accumulation in the brain.
  • If certain parts of the brain are affected, there may be behavioral or personality changes.
  • Tumors that damage the auditory nerves can result in hearing loss in the affected side.
  • Persistent and severe irritation to the brain may lead to seizures.