• Risk Factors for Brain Tumors

    A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition.
    It is possible to develop brain tumors with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing brain tumors. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
    There are few known risk factors for primary brain tumors because so little is known about what causes them. They are the second most common form of cancer in children and adolescents (generally under 15 years old). Increasing age is a risk factor for primary and secondary brain tumors in adults.
    Risk factors are also dependent on the specific type of cancer. For example: meningioma, the most common primary brain tumor in adults, is more frequently found in women than in men. It also affects more African-Americans than Caucasians.

    Primary Brain Tumors

    Environmental or Occupational Exposures
    Radiation exposure produces the greatest risk for brain tumors. This most frequently occurs through radiation therapy to the head to treat other cancers. Exposure to radiation can also come from:
    • Imaging tests, such as x-rays or CT scans
    • Occupations, such as oil refining or rubber manufacturing
    Genetics and Family History
    Several uncommon hereditary disorders can increase the risk of brain tumors:
    • Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
    • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
    • Werner's syndrome
    • Von Recklinghausen's disease
    • Tuberous sclerosis
    • Turcot syndrome
    Having a first-degree relative increases the risk of developing meningioma.

    Secondary Brain Tumors

    Secondary brain tumors come from other cancer sites in the body. Cancers that spread to the brain include:
    Cancer cell development and growth are influenced by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Managing modifiable risk factors, such as not smoking, can help you reduce your overall risk of cancer.


    Astrocytoma and oligodentroglioma in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116413/Astrocytoma-and-oligodendroglioma-in-adults. Updated May 13, 2016. Accessed September 23, 2016.

    Brain and spinal cord tumors in adults. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003088-pdf.pdf. Accessed August 14, 2015.

    Brain and spinal cord tumors in children. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003089-pdf.pdf. Accessed August 14, 2015.

    General information about adult brain tumors. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/brain/patient/adult-brain-treatment-pdq. Updated February 13, 2015. Accessed August 14, 2015.

    Meningioma. EBSCO Plus DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116926/Meningioma. Updated April 29, 2016. Accessed May 10, 2016.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.