Risk Factors/Signs and Symptoms

The cause of most adult brain tumors is unknown. There are few known risk factors for brain tumors, however, the following conditions may increase the risk of developing certain types of brain tumors:
  • Being exposed to vinyl chloride may increase the risk of glioma. 
  • Past treatment with radiation therapy to the scalp or brain may increase the risk of meningioma. 
  • Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus, having AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), or receiving an organ transplant may increase the risk of primary CNS lymphoma. 
Having certain genetic syndromes may increase the risk of developing the following types of brain tumors:
  • Neurofibromatosis type 1 or 2 
  • von Hippel-Lindau 
  • Tuberous Sclerosis 
  • Li-Fraumeni Syndrome 
  • Turcot Syndrome type 1 and type 2 
  • Klinefelter Syndrome 
  • Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of adult brain and spinal cord tumors are not the same in every person. They depend on where the tumor formed in the brain, the functions controlled by that part of the brain, and the size of the tumor. Headaches and other symptoms may be caused by adult brain tumors. A doctor should be consulted if: 

Brain Tumors
  • Morning headache or headache that goes away after vomiting 
  • Frequent nausea and vomiting 
  • Vision, hearing, and speech problems 
  • Loss of balance and trouble walking 
  • Weakness on one side of the body 
  • Unusual sleepiness or change in activity level 
  • Unusual changes in personality or behavior 
  • Seizures 
Spinal Cord Tumors
  • Back pain or pain that spreads from the back towards the arms or legs. 
  • A change in bowel habits or trouble urinating 
  • Weakness in the legs 
  • Trouble walking

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