Cancer is the general term for a group of diseases that occurs when there is an abnormal growth or changes in a group of normal cells within the body that can lead to the formation of lump or tumor. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 17 people die every minute from cancer across the globe.
The exact cause of of many types of cancer are not yet fully known, but many result from the exposure to cancer-causing substances called carcinogens and about 90 per cent are attributed to lifestyle and environment. Here are some of the causes and risk factors that may affect an individual to develop a cancer:
1. Exposure to Radiation
Research proves that ionizing radiation has enough energy that can damage your DNA and cause cancer if you are exposed to very high levels of radiation. Some of the ionizing radiation includes gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet rays as well as other forms of high-energy radiation. However, lower or non-ionizing radiation that comes from cellphones, television, microwaves and radiowaves have not been found to cause cancer in people.
2. Altered or Defective Genes
Unfortunately, due to genetic disposition or genetic susceptibility, there are people who are more likely to develop cancer if they inherited a faulty gene or certain type of cancer may run in their family like breast cancer. However, research say that cancers due to inherited gene mutation are much less common compared to cancers that are caused by gene changes because of ageing and lifestyle.
3. Excessive Intake of Alcohol
Heavy alcohol consumption has been proven to increase your risk to six types of cancers which include mouth and throat cancer, breast, colorectal, stomach, esophageal and liver cancer. Healthcare professionals advise drinkers to drink responsibly and in moderate amounts of alcohol because the more you drink, the higher your risk of developing the mentioned cancers.
4. Smoking or Chewing Tobacco
According to research, smoke coming from tobacco contains at least 80 cancer-causing substances. Once you inhaled the smoke, chemicals enter the lungs and will pass into the blood stream and then transported throughout your body, the reason why smoking may cause various types of cancer which include lung, mouth, larynx, colorectal, throat, bladder, liver and other types of cancer.
5. Exposure to Asbestos and Chromium
Studies show that asbestos and chromium are known carcinogens. Inhalation and being exposed to asbestos and chromium may cause lung disease and cancer. Asbestos may cause a rare cancer called mesothelioma which mainly affects the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of internal organs which include the lungs, abdomen and heart.
6. Certain Household and Industrial Chemicals
Your exposure to certain chemicals outdoors, at work, and at home may increase your chances of getting cancer. Benzene is a carcinogenic substance that can be found in some household and industrial products which include paints, detergents, thinners, furniture wax and industrial cleaning and degreasing formulations. Other substances that are known to be carcinogenic are wood dust, arsenic, radon, vinyl chloride.
7. Chronic Exposure to the Sun's Ultraviolet Rays
Ultraviolet rays coming from the sun as well as tanning booths and sun lamps may cause skin damage that may lead to skin and lip cancer. It is essential to limit your exposure to sun, most especially between 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. You should protect yourself from ultraviolet rays by applying sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and clothing that will cover your skin.
8. Certain Viruses
There are certain bacteria, viruses and parasites that may cause cancer. These infectious agents can cause infections and chronic inflammation that will weaken your immune system and make your body vulnerable to fight off cancer-causing infections. Some of these bacteria, viruses and parasites include hepatitis b, hepatitis c, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori).
9. Unhealthy Sexual Habits
Practicing unhealthy sexual habits such as unprotected sex and having sex with multiple partners can make your body susceptible to infections, since most viruses are linked to an increased risk of cancer which can be passed from one person to another through body fluids. Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) can be sexually transmitted which can be life-threatening and may increase your chances of developing cervical, vaginal and penile cancers.
10. Unhealthy Diet
Your diet is one of the greatest factors that may affect your chances of developing certain types of diseases and even cancer. Having an unhealthy diet that contains excessive fat, preserved meat (nitrite and nitrate preservatives), highly acidic foods, pickled and smoked foods and lack of vegetables, fruits and fiber will increase your chances of having cancer.
Include foods that are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals that will help boost your immunity and reduce your cancer risk. Some foods that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants are dark leafy green vegetables, berries and citrus fruits.
Together, we can unite to reduce the global impact of cancer by being knowledgeable about the detection, prevention and treatment of certain types of cancer. Every action counts and each of us can get involved no matter how small or big, each contribution can be a blessing to other people. Whether you donate blood or money, run a cancer campaign or simply share this article.
Let us all get involved in the fight against cancer. #FightCancer #IAmAndIWill
Disclaimer: The health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. VitaminsOnly strongly recommends consulting health care professionals for any questions concerning your health.