Meningioma risk factors are certain conditions and characteristics that can increase a person’s likelihood of developing this type of tumor. While some risk factors have a direct, proven link to brain cancer, others are loosely correlated, at best. For instance, being female is considered to be a risk factor for meningioma because most patients are women, but even so, females should not be overly concerned about the possibility of developing a brain tumor.
Currently, known meningioma risk factors include:
- A history of exposure to ionizing radiation – Several studies have shown that exposure to ionizing radiation, such as that which occurs when radiation therapy is delivered to the head or neck, increases a person’s risk of developing brain tumors such as meningiomas.
- Having undergone hormone replacement therapy – Certain hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone and androgen, are thought to play a role in the development of meningioma. Most meningiomas have receptors for either estrogen, progesterone or both on the surfaces of their cells; these tumors also tend to grow more quickly in pregnant women whose bodies naturally produce high levels of these hormones. As a result, hormone replacement therapy, which provides an artificial dose of hormones, is thought to slightly increase a person’s risk of developing meningioma.
- Neurofibromatosis type 2 – This rare genetic disorder is known to predispose individuals to certain benign tumors of the central nervous system, including meningiomas.
Other risk factors that may have an association with meningioma include head trauma, frequent, long-term cell phone use, a history of epilepsy, frequent lead exposure and smoking. Being over the age of 60 is also considered a risk factor, although to a lesser degree than other meningioma risk factors.
To learn more about these risk factors, or to discuss your personal risk profile with one of the oncologists at Moffitt Cancer Center specializing in brain cancer, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. No referral is required to schedule a consultation.