The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system (CNS). Cancers that affect the CNS are particularly serious because this system is so important. These tumors are extremely dangerous because the brain controls most of the body's functions, and the spinal cord facilitates signal transmission and reception for all these functions. Some cancers begin in the CNS while others move there after developing in other areas.
Doctors do not fully understand the causes of CNS cancers. Known risk factors are radiation exposure, immunodeficiency, stress, and a family history of CNS or other cancer. As a person ages, they are more likely to develop cancer, and certain genetic disorders increase the risk of specific types of CNS tumors, including Gorlin syndrome, Cowden syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and Von Hippe-Lindau disease. Some groups believe that environmental factors, infections, and cell phone use contribute to cancer development, but there is no strong evidence to support these claims.
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