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UK Oncologist On Increasing Incidence Of Brain Cancer

An oncologist at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center said brain cancers are seen in the very young and very old.  The causes for these brain tumors are still hard to determine.

Cell phone usage had been thought to be a factor in the development of brain tumors.  Dr. John Villano, medical director of the Physician Medicine Clinic, said mobile phones are now not considered a factor. He said sometimes cancer somewhere else in the body re-emerges in the brain. “Our patients with cancer, such as lung, colon, they are living longer and subsequently they can develop brain metastasis, especially the brain and the brain as a site for returning of a cancer is becoming more common we think,” explained Villano.

As well as elderly citizens, Villano noted brain tumors are seen in those under ten.  And studies have shown pediatric brain cancers in Appalachia occur twice the national average. 

But singling out environmental causes for any cancer is still difficult. “We think some environmental exposures can increase the risk of it. Certainly smoking -induced, radon exposure. But, a large percentage is just incidental, it just happens and we’re trying to understand some of the genetic factors associated with that,” said Villano.

May is brain cancer awareness month.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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