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Can brain cancer be prevented?

Head injuries can cause serious brain disease. ©Shutterstock

Read what our expert has to say about how you can prevent brain tumours.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : January 22, 2018 11:56 AM IST

Did you know according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), between 30 to 35 percent of all cancers are preventable? While cancer is a lifestyle disease which can be prevented by maintaining a good, healthy lifestyle, brain cancer is a direct result of a spontaneous genetic mutation in tumour-prone cells or it evolves from already occurring low-grade glial tumours in the brain. Hence, you might not be able to eliminate all chances of contracting it. However, there are few factors can help you know about your risk of brain cancer and aid in treating the cancer at an early stage, says Dr Sunil Furtado, Senior Consultant, Neurosurgery, Cytecare Hospitals. Are you at risk? Read to know.

1. Know your family's medical history

Always be aware of your family's medical history, including cases of cancers and tumours. If your family has displayed a high risk of genetic syndromes which increase the risk of brain cancers, or there have been cases of the same, then it would be a good idea to maintain a record of this. A family history of Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, Neurofibromatosis, Tuberous Sclerosis and Turcot Syndrome can make you more prone to brain cancer. Understanding this can also go a long way in identifying brain tumours at an early stage if you experience any of the symptoms.

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2. Exposure to radiation

Radiation from smartphones, microwaves and power lines have no link to brain cancers. But, ionising radiation from excessive exposure to radon, x-rays, gamma rays and other high-energy forms of radiation can damage DNA, increasing your chances of getting cancer. A good way to help you understand and identify your risk of getting cancers is by staying updated on radiation exposures. Here's more on myths and facts about brain tumour.

3. Understand the correlation between age and cancers.

While there is no specific age group that is more susceptible to brain cancers, the risks increase as you get older, usually beyond 40 years of age. Some brain tumours, however, like brainstem gliomas and pilocytic astrocytomas (a low-grade tumour) affect children. Understanding this correlation and being aware of what changes your body goes through with age will also help you identify the symptoms of cancers.

4. Never ignore the symptoms of cancer

The common symptoms of brain cancer to watch out for include seizures, increasing the severity of headaches accompanied by vomiting, slurry speech, loss of memory and vision to name a few. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms persistently for more than a month, then not paying attention to them can be detrimental. Ignoring signs or avoiding treatment will surely worsen the situation, and it might be too late to save the day. Please visit a neurologist, neurosurgeon or even a general physician at the earliest in such a scenario, for brain tumours are best treated the earlier they are detected.

Besides these methods of keeping a check on cancer, one of the most important things to living a healthy life is maintaining good habits. It can help one recover well from any surgery or medical therapy. Here's more on brain tumour things your neurologist wants you to know.

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