From old-wives tales to TV doctor shows and everything in between, we’ve all heard how things we use in our daily lives can put us at risk for a brain tumor. With so much information bombarding us on a daily basis, it can be difficult to get a grasp on what information is true or false and what your risk really is.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most commonly referenced risk factors to see if there is real cause for concern.
1. Radiation Exposure: True
People who have received radiation to the head are at higher risk for a brain tumor. Most often this exposure comes from radiation therapy used to treat another type of cancer.
2. Hair Coloring: False
Hair coloring is incredibly common, with upwards of 75% of women dying their hair routinely. Thankfully the products used to color have gotten progressively safer. Before the 1970s hair coloring contained carcinogenic ingredients, but since then manufacturers have removed those ingredients.
3. Cell Phone Use: Maybe
The debate over cellphones and their connection to health have continued to grow. Some have suggested that the radiofrequency waves from cellphones can be absorbed by body tissue; however, it is important to note that there has been nothing conclusive.
4. Family History of Brain Tumors: True
Though most people with brain tumors don’t have a family history of the disease, tumors can run in families.
5. Artificial Sweeteners: False
Many articles and websites claim that artificial sweeteners can cause a brain tumor; however, there is currently no scientific evidence showing that they truly increase your risk. Keep in mind that consuming artificially sweetened products should still be done in moderation.
6. Living Near Power Lines: Maybe
Power lines create an electromagnetic field. Technically, they are non-ionizing, which means they are not supposed to damage DNA or cells directly, but due to their prevalence, power lines and their connection to brain tumors are still being researched.
7. Certain Inherited Syndromes: True
People who are born with certain syndromes, such as neurofibromatosis, von Hippel-Lindau disease, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis, have an increased risk of growing brain tumors.
8. Microwaves: Maybe
Similar to both power lines and cellphones, microwaves have long been questioned as a risk factor for brain tumors. However, they emit non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. Thankfully, they are not as close to us as cellphones, nor are they near the scale of powerlines.
9.Head Injury & Seizures: Maybe
Both head injuries and seizures have long been associated with an increased risk for brain tumors. The findings have been inconsistent, as well as the inability to distinguish between correlation and causation; research is ongoing.
While these risk factors are significant and important to keep in mind, risk factors are just that—factors. There are several different components that may increase or decrease your risk of a brain tumor. Other risk factors can include things such as age, gender, race, and ethnicity.
How GMC Can Help
Despite the risk factors mentioned above, remember, brain tumors are very rare. However, in the event that you or a loved one are diagnosed with a brain tumor, the neurosurgeons at The Brain and Spine Institute at Gwinnett Medical Center are prepared to care for you. With skilled physicians, as well as the latest technology and procedures, our experts can help you at every stage of the healing process. Learn more at thebrainandspineinstitute.com.