Can Playing Guitar Cause Brain Cancer?

One guitarist believes it does   02-Nov-12

Can Playing Guitar Cause Brain Cancer?
Martin Reed plays with his band, Gizmo

Martin Reed, a 48-year-old guitarist from the UK, believes that playing guitar might be linked to the brain tumour that almost killed him.

He went to see a doctor complaining of headaches, and was eventually told he had a brain tumour the size of a tennis ball behind his right eye, doctors told him he had two weeks left to live.

Despite their worst fears, surgeons were able to remove the tumour, but this was when Martin discovered a link between glioblastoma multiforme, the type of tumour discovered in his brain, and the fact that he was a musician.

He told the Daily Mail:

"[My doctor] told me that my particular tumour was very rare and accounted for just four per cent of all tumours.

"He also told me it seemed to be prevalent in musicians because he’d had a classical pianist, an opera singer and a jazz saxophonist. He said it was a really weird coincidence, but he didn’t have a theory on why it could be."

He added:

"I’m no scientist, but I do know that with many musicians the cerebellum in their brain keeps growing. I don’t know if that’s got anything to do with it!"

No direct medical link has been discovered, but a possible explanation is that increased activity and development in parts of the brain responsible for helping musicians to hone their craft could also be linked to triggering or creating the conditions for glioblastoma multiforme.

Martin Reed is now back playing guitar, and is making a steady recovery.


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