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Scientists Still Searching For Brain Tumor Causes

Update Date: Jul 25, 2014 03:54 PM EDT

Brain tumor affects around 700,000 people in the U.S., still when it comes to pinpointing the causes or risk factors of it, researchers don't seem very sure, exerts reported related findings and dispelled myths at the American Brain Tumor Association's annual conference.

"Right now, we don't know who, we don't know when, and we don't know why people develop brain tumors," said Elizabeth M. Wilson, MNA, President and CEO, American Brain Tumor Association. "It's frustrating for the brain tumor community, and it's why the American Brain Tumor Association funds research to pursue answers to these questions, and it's why we host this national conference to provide answers families desperately seek."

Experts explained many environmental and genetic risk factors have been studied but researchers are yet to uncover a risk factor that accounts for a large number of brain tumors.

"Unlike the strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer, we just haven't found a specific risk factor like that for brain tumors," said Dr. Barnholtz-Sloan. "We have determined that ionizing radiation to the head is a risk factor when received in therapeutic doses, but even in those cases, the risk of developing a brain tumor is low."

Experts added that other unproven causes of brain tumors include: power line, cigarette smoking, most forms of diagnostic ionizing radiation, head trauma, exposure to air pollutants, and alcohol consumption.

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