Thursday, October 2, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Brain tumors are not all alike

scott column sig

By
From page B8 | August 23, 2014 |

Years ago, I recall seeing a movie in which Woody Allen obsesses over unexplained headaches, convinced that he has an undiagnosed brain tumor.

After endless tests, he still struggles with ruminating fear and anxiety. Sadly, brain tumors do occur with some regularity in clinical medical practice. Recently, I encountered two cases of brain tumors. One was benign and the other was malignant. In both cases, I became involved due to concerns about causation. Specifically, the issue at hand was possible industrial causation of brain cancer.

In California, cancers are generally presumed to be industrially caused in certain employees, including firefighters and police officers. These Labor Code statutes typically are applicable if an evaluating physician finds a malignant tumor in a setting of occupational exposure to carcinogens. A benign brain tumor, although clearly a “growth” and a “neoplasm,” might not necessarily be considered work-related. There is something a bit arbitrary in this process.

For example, a pituitary adenoma is a “benign” lesion, but it may cause blindness by compressing the nerves that transmit vision within the brain. Some “malignant” tumors, such as a squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, might represent far less serious health challenges.

With respect to malignant brain tumors, they may arise within the brain’s supporting tissues, or as a result of spread from distant organs, such as the lung. The most common primary brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, often comes to the attention of medical personnel after a person suffers a headache, seizure or problem with speech. Most such lesions are fairly advanced, with grave implications.

Brain cancers strike two to three people per hundred thousand per year. That may not seem impressive, but consider the impact on a city with 10 million people, like New York, in which this translates into 300 cases annually. Nationally, 19,500 brain tumors are diagnosed annually, resulting in 13,000 annual deaths.

Among people with glioblastoma, astrocytoma and other malignant tumors, prognoses may be guarded. Some localized benign tumors, as adenomas or meningiomas, may have a very positive outlook for survival and recovery. Moreover, treatments are improving. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are among the modalities employed by oncologists.

With respect to causation, researchers historically noted that certain occupations seemed to suffer higher levels of brain cancer. This observation led to a theory that certain chemicals, or radiation exposures, might play a role in brain cancer. Further research also showed an association of brain cancer with specific industries, including agriculture and petrochemical processing. Links have been postulated between brain tumors and food preservatives, rubber products, plastic residues and toxic fumes. Magnetic fields, such as those around high-voltage wires, were thought by some to cause some brain tumors.

Further research, however, has failed to definitively prove this hypothesis. Recently, cellphone use has attracted attention in a similar manner, as these devices generate magnetic fields and local temperature change. In evaluating the recent literature, I was surprised to learn that head injuries may be linked to some brain tumors. About 5 percent of brain cancers may be linked to hereditary factors, including rare diseases such as Li-Frauman syndrome. Viruses have also garnered some attention among researchers.

Most brain tumors, however, are deemed idiopathic, or of unknown specific cause.

On a practical basis, it would seem prudent to minimize any unnecessary exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, and to prevent unnecessary head injuries, in an effort to ward off brain cancer. Moreover, such precautions are generally conducive to good health for other reasons, as well. Severe headaches, difficulty speaking or new-onset seizures should prompt a visit to one’s health care provider. The earlier a brain tumor is detected, the better the prognosis.

Scott T. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D. (stamdphd@comcast.net) is clinical professor of medicine, UC Davis. This column is informational, and does not constitute medical advice.

Scott Anderson

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Head-on crash sends 2 to trauma centers

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Vacaville man earns Carnegie heroism medal

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Mundy fifth-graders share their thoughts

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Veterans meet set in November

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Solano Tea Party Patriots meet next week

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Bevy of vintage warbirds expected at Nut Tree air show

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

FBI turns animal cruelty into top-tier felony

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
California Catholics challenge abortion order

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

San Francisco expands free public Wi-Fi access

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Judge: Stockton must treat pension like other debt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Mexico’s probe of army slayings raises doubts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
John Wayne’s heirs lose ‘Duke’ legal brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Hong Kong protesters threaten to occupy buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Man convicted of murder in killing over loud music

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

3 Afghan soldiers who fled say they can’t go home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Poll: Divided voters still focus on economy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Respiratory virus seen in 4 deaths; role unclear

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
920 California chickens killed with golf club

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Liberia short on ambulances for Ebola patients

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Wife of slain Los Angeles-area mayor released

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ebola patient told hospital he was from Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Caltrans: Bay Bridge tower rods exposed to water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Secret Service chief quits due to security lapses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
2 children in Los Angeles County have enterovirus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Palestinians: Israeli occupation must end in 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Infant’s body found in California trash facility

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

App teaches kindergartners basic computer coding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
2 white Ohio women sue over sperm from black donor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Editorial Cartoon: Oct. 2, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Crazy? Violent? Lose your guns

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11

 
It’s time to teach history

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A11

Read this column ASAP or immediately

By Reg Henry | From Page: A11

 
Real reasons neighborhoods are in trouble

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 2, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 2, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 2, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Our son’s suicide has made us feel like outcasts in our community

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Lena Dunham launches tour for book of adult essays

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘Interstellar’ to be released 2 days early on film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Steinem: Domestic violence discussion a positive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘Orange is the New Black’ author talks Season 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Joy Behar to debut a 1-woman show in New York

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Tony Bennett sets mark as oldest act with No. 1 LP

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

Bumgarner, Giants silence Pirates 8-0 to advance

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A’s part ways a day after 12-inning loss to Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

49ers prepare for familiar face in Chiefs Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders leave for bye after meeting with new coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

College notebook: Former Falcon Williams tearing it up as Torero

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Prep water polo: Rodriguez boys swim to 11-1 win over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Prep girls tennis: Stybnarova earns victory at No. 1 singles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
 
Prep cross country: Armijo rolls to sweep at MEL center meet

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Drivers fear next round of NASCAR’s Chase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
JC volleyball: Solano wins twice in Falcons Classic

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

JC women’s soccer: Sjoberg nets 2 goals as Solano ties Chabot

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Trout makes playoff debut when Angels host Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Tigers hope starters can outdo Orioles bullpen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Wambach, players file lawsuit over World Cup turf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Oslo latest city to drop out of 2022 Olympic race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Cardinals re-sign Fairfield High graduate Bishop

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B3

 
LeBron warmly welcomed ‘home’ by Cleveland fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

This date in sports history for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

Stocks start October with a drop

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
GM looks to new vehicles, China to boost profit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

5 reasons bonds may be less safe than you think

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Why the bond market is more fragile than you think

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

.

Obituaries

John ‘Bo’ M. Miller

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Laura M. Gerdes-Lemmons

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9