Hair dye and brain cancer, treatment options, benign tumors and other myths

Do hair-coloring chemicals cause brain tumors? When it comes to treatments, is surgery the only option? What about a benign tumor? Read about some misperceptions around brain cancer.


“Hair dye causes cancer”

Where does the myth come from?

Over 5,000 different chemicals are used in hair dye products, some of which are reported to be carcinogenic. As a result, there are rumors about a link between hair coloring and getting cancer.

The reality behind the myth

Although researchers have been studying a possible link between hair dye use and cancer for many years, the results are rather conflicting. There is no evidence of it causing cancer or increasing the risk of developing cancer.




“Brain tumors are only treated surgically”

Where does the myth come from?

Surgery is often the first treatment of a tumor that originates in the brain, if it can be removed safely. Also, the fact that we often talk about “brain surgery” as a very complicated operation builds a connection which may be over-simplifying.

The reality behind the myth

The main treatments used for brain tumors are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Also, some cases of brain tumors are treated with a combination of different types of therapies. The exact location, type of brain tumor and age of a patient will dictate which treatments are recommended.

Moreover, medication may be prescribed to palliate symptoms.


“A non-malignant brain tumor is not life-threatening“

Where does the myth come from?

Malignant brain tumors typically grow faster than benign tumors, and aggressively invade surrounding tissue.

On the other hand, benign brain tumors are non-cancerous, usually stay in one place and do not spread. As these tumors aren't cancerous, they can often be successfully treated and they rarely develop into cancer. Furthermore, since they rarely spread, it is often believed they are not serious.

The reality behind the myth

The distinction between non-malignant and malignant brain tumors can be challenging. Some non-malignant tumors can be as serious as those classified as malignant if they are in an inaccessible location, such as the brain stem.
Furthermore, benign brain tumors can be life-threatening because they can compress brain tissue and other structures inside the skull.
Therefore, any brain tumor is life-changing - regardless of grade or stage.


“I am young so it is impossible to have brain cancer”

Where does the myth come from?

Brain tumors most commonly occur in people aged between 50 and 70. In general, the frequency of brain cancer increases with age, with more occurrences in individuals age 65 and older.

The reality behind the myth

Age is not an absolute determinant for brain tumors, because even newborns can have brain tumors. Actually, brain cancers are more common in two groups of people: children and adults over 50; on the other hand, people of any age may develop a brain tumor. In addition, there are certain types of brain tumors that occur almost exclusively in children. Therefore, age is not a reason to rule out a brain tumor and we should be attentive about any symptoms.


Other sources include Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and VeryWell

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