Brain cancer is a devastating disease that kills a disproportionate number of people and is often accompanied by other life-threatening complications, including blindness, loss of hearing and paralysis.
But its symptoms are often mild.
It’s also rare, with less than 2% of cases affecting the brain.
The bad news is that the risk of brain cancer increases as you get older.
A recent study of more than 1.2 million patients found that patients who had experienced a stroke or a traumatic brain injury during their lifetime were nearly four times more likely to develop brain cancer as patients who did not have the same symptoms.
But even with these odds stacked up, it’s still not clear that the disease is completely preventable.
As the disease progresses, the chances of developing brain cancer may increase.
And while the risk for stroke or other trauma increases as the disease worsens, the risk goes down with time, says Dr. William Schaffner, an expert on cancer biology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
This is because it takes time for the damage to repair itself, which means that the more severe the injury, the more likely it is that a patient will develop brain damage, he said.
“It’s very possible that some of these injuries could be as severe as the ones that cause brain cancer,” Schaffman told Recode.
And if that happens, there are no easy or cheap treatments for the brain disease.
The new study suggests that it might be possible to change the risk factors that predispose a person to developing brain disease by adjusting the amount of time a patient spends in pain, Schaff, who was not involved in the study, said in an interview.
“We’re seeing that this can help people with the most severe forms of brain trauma, so it may be possible for a little bit of pain relief, but it’s not the same as getting better pain,” he said, adding that it’s unclear if the pain relief would be enough to keep the patient from developing brain damage.
So how does pain help?
While the study focused on people who were diagnosed with brain trauma at the beginning of their life, the findings are likely applicable to other kinds of trauma, too.
People who have suffered from strokes or brain injuries during their lives may have a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Both of these conditions can cause a person’s muscles to contract and weaken, leading to paralysis, loss in movement and death.
The symptoms of these disorders often go away with time.
But the disease often persists for years, and there is no cure.
Researchers are still trying to understand why pain can prevent the disease from developing.
For example, Schiffner says it may not be possible, at least in some cases, to completely stop the disease after a traumatic event.
He also said that there is not yet enough evidence that using opioids to relieve pain would reduce the disease.
Schaff said that it would be possible in some instances to stop the progression of brain disease even if pain were the only way to stop it.
And, while Schaffer said that pain could be helpful in certain circumstances, he added that it could be risky.
“The more the brain is damaged, the harder it is to repair,” he added.
“So, if you’re getting pain, it might not be that helpful to stop and do it.”
But the study’s authors did note that it may take a few years before pain-relieving drugs become widely available.