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Causes of Brain Cancer

Exposure to Radiation and Certain Chemicals
Exposure to radiation or certain chemicals that will increase a person's risk of developing brain cancer include:
 
  • Radiation -- Workers in the nuclear industry have an increased risk of developing a brain tumor.
     
  • Formaldehyde -- Pathologists and embalmers who work with formaldehyde have an increased risk of developing brain cancer. However, scientists have not found an increased risk of developing brain cancer among other types of workers who are exposed to formaldehyde.
     
  • Vinyl chloride -- Workers who make plastics may be exposed to vinyl chloride, which is a chemical that can increase a person's risk of developing brain cancer.
     
  • Acrylonitrile -- People who make textiles and plastics may be exposed to acrylonitrile. Exposure to acrylonitrile can potentially increase a person's risk of developing brain cancer.
     

Other Possible Causes

Scientists are currently investigating cell phones and head injuries as possible causes of brain tumors. However, studies thus far have not found an increased risk of brain tumors among people who use cell phones or among people who have had head injuries.
 
(Click Cell Phones and Brain Cancer for more information about the link between cell phones and brain tumors.)
 

Brain Cancer Causes: Summary

Although brain cancer research scientists do not know the cause or causes of the disease, they are continuing to search. People who think that they may be at risk of brain cancer should discuss this concern with their doctor who can suggest ways to reduce the risk of developing brain cancer and can plan an appropriate schedule for checkups.
 
 
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