• Question: What causes brain cancer?

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      Asked by Laura✨ to Sinead, Neil, Mark, Florence, Anne on 17 Nov 2015.
      • Photo: Mark Collins

        Mark Collins answered on 17 Nov 2015:

        Hi Laura, unfortunately at the moment we have very limited knowledge of the brain although this is something that is being studied a lot more in recent times and as a result, the cause of brain cancer is still largely unknown. The good news is it is quite rare and more common in males than females, again that is just statistics than any scientific reasoning. Maybe you will feel inspired after this event, study science and then be the person who discovers the cause of and cure for brain cancer.

      • Photo: Florence McCarthy

        Florence McCarthy answered on 17 Nov 2015:

        Cancer of the brain is essentially the same as elsewhere in the body – it occurs due to the uncontrolled growth of cells but this time in the central nervous system. These cancers are among the hardest to treat due to the location ( it is difficult for surgery) and common chemotherapy is of limited use. Often the chemo will be injected directly into the central nervous system in order to get to the site of action.

      • Photo: Sinead Balgobin

        Sinead Balgobin answered on 18 Nov 2015:

        The brain is the most mysterious organ in the body- scientists work really hard, but we still struggle to understand exactly how it works. Cancer is a name for a wide range of diseases that all have a similar mechanism. The genetic information in a cell can become damaged (mutated), and the cell no longer behaves as it should. It will start to multiply uncontrollably and invade other tissues and organs.

        Brain tumours are rare, so their causes aren’t well known. Things that we think are linked to brain cancer are: previous cancers (the cancerous cells can move from one area to another), genetic conditions, HIV/AIDS, radiation (the risk of brain cancer is slightly increased by treatment for other cancers, but not to the extent that it makes treatment unsafe) and there is some evidence that risk is very slightly increased for post-menopausal women taking HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Still, like I said before, brain cancer is very rare, so the factors I have listed don’t increase the risk of brain cancer a significant amount.