There are more than 100 different types of brain cancer (defined as a growth of tumors within the brain tissue), and a number of possible causes as well. Primary brain tumors start in the brain, while secondary tumors are cancerous growths that originate elsewhere in the body. Knowing the risk factors and understanding the causes can allow you to be more proactive in seeking testing and treatment.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Ask yourself if you are at high risk of developing a brain tumor. Do you already have cancer elsewhere in the body? Have you been exposed to radiation or carcinogens? Are you suffering from an auto-immune disorder? Learn more at the National Cancer Institute Web site (see "Resources" below).
Realize that the causes of brain cancer are not entirely understood. However, like all cancers, brain tumors are the result of genetic mutations. Some of these gene abnormalities are inherited, while others are acquired. Activities such as cigarette smoking and ingesting toxic chemicals can damage otherwise normal genes. The medical community is actively engaged in learning more about the causes of brain cancer.
Follow up any initial diagnosis of brain cancer with your own research using reliable sources such as the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute Web sites (see "Resources" below). This will allow you to ask your doctor intelligent questions about pain management, alternative therapies and other aspects of dealing with the disease.