Top 10 Causes of Cancer
Cancer is not only a disease, it is a destroyer of lives. Cancer complicates lives and makes it difficult for everyone around the person. When cancer attacks a person, it changes how they feel about themselves, not just their body. Cancer is more than a disease or complication. It is a state of mind that the individual goes through.
Cancer grows in the cells uncontrollably and even spreads to other body parts. Since human cells grow and multiply through cell division, the multiplication of cancer cells also similarly occurs. When old and damaged cells start to multiply and grow, then they result in the formation of tumours. This tumour is usually cancerous.
Cancer usually results in abnormal genetic changes and disturbs the normal functioning of the cells. Smoking tobacco, harmful substances in our environment and high exposure to UV rays are common causes of cancer. However, cancer can even be inherited by the offspring.
Individuals need to take regular check-ups to detect such diseases early. If cancer is detected early, there is a high chance that it can be cured, and the person will not be affected by it again. However, cancer can attack an individual more than once, even after treatment.
How Does Cancer Form?
When cells start to grow rapidly and uncontrollably spread, it changes the DNA. The changes caused in DNA are genetic, which causes genetic changes and mutations in the body. In normal cells, there are tumour-suppressing genes which prevent the formation of cancer cells in the body. However, in cancer cells, the specific changes in DNA create uncontrollable growth and cause tumour-suppressing genes to become inactive.
The immune system can detect the formation of cancer cells; if detected, it can kill the cancer cells. However, the cancer cells can evade and avoid detection, which causes rapid growth and spread of cancer to various body parts. Cancer treatment is crucial as it helps the immune system detect, attack and kill cancer cells more efficiently.
Genetic changes are usually caused due to heredity reasons, prolonged exposure to UV rays, chemicals, viruses and tobacco consumption.
The risk of cancer increases in the later stages of life as the immune system slows down. The genetic changes and cancer cells accumulate slowly, and when the person ages, it starts to take control over the body. Hence, if individuals are not taking care of their bodies, they can be impacted by cancer in the later stages of their life.
When the cancer cells start to break apart from the initially formed tumour, they travel through the blood to other body parts and form an additional tumour. This process of forming additional tumours apart from the initial tumour is called metastasis.
It is essential to take regular body check-ups as it would help identify such tumours. Early detection and treatment would help the individual recover and become healthy again.
Signs and Symptoms
Fatigue, unexpected weight loss or weight gain, formation of lumps, headaches, and hearing problems are a few common symptoms of cancer which are common among all patients. Apart from these, bleeding, jaundice and nausea are also a few common symptoms and signs.
These signs and symptoms are crucial as they help doctors to identify and detect cancer early. It is essential to take regular body checkups so that such diseases can be identified in time and can also be treated well. However, it is essential to consult your doctor so that all signs and symptoms in the body are well analysed.
Apart from these common signs and symptoms, the normal behaviour of the cells gets disrupted, and it can be analysed and detected through body checkups. Hence, regular checkups are vital as they help individuals identify mutations or irregularities in their bodies and can be treated early.
Causes of Cancer
The majority of cases of cancer are due to lifestyle factors and environmental factors. These factors create significant changes in the body's genetics and cause mutations. Environmental and lifestyle factors are the ones which cannot be inherited. Hence, these factors include things such as the use of tobacco, poor diet and obesity, infections, pollution, and even prolonged exposure to radiation causes cancer.
Inherited genetics is a minor cause of cancer. It is usually caused due to a series of factors. Prolonged exposure to pollution, toxic chemical combustion and smoking all together cause cancer. However, in this scenario, tobacco consumption will be considered the primary reason for causing cancer.
It is possible to avoid things which are significant contributors causing cancer, and this would help individuals to reduce the overall risk of being vulnerable to cancer. Here are the top 10 causes of cancer.
Among the vast number of cancer cases, only a small count of 3 to 10% of the population is impacted by genetic mutation as a part of cancer. Cancer syndrome is a hereditary genetic mutation that can be passed down to the offspring. However, genetic testing can be carried out as it is crucial in identifying if the chromosomes passed to the offspring have any mutated genes.
Genetic cancer is not very common, as less than 0.3% of the population carries hereditary cancer forms. However, individuals who have inherited these genes have a higher risk of mutations.
2. Physical Agents
These substances can damage or cause significant changes to the cellular and internal processes of the body. Powdered metallic substances are considered to be the most prominent form of carcinogen, which are linked to cancer. However, stress is not a significant factor which causes cancer. Across the globe, millions of workers face the risk of cancer at their workplace due to prolonged exposure to these carcinogens.
People who work in factories and mines are more exposed to cancer as they are directly exposed to substances which can cause damage to their cells and immune system.
3. Chemical Agents
Tobacco consumption causes more than 80% of lung cancer cases. Consumption of tobacco causes increased risk to the liver, lungs, gallbladder and small intestine.
The toxic substances in the smoke directly consumed by the individual impact their respiratory tract and lungs. Tobacco consumption causes significant changes in the DNA.
Chemicals such as benzene and chloride are the ones which can develop the risk of causing cancer. These toxic substances are small enough to enter the bloodstream through the air and can cause significant genetic damage.
Lifestyle is an essential contributor towards the health of an individual. The enormous consumption of alcohol causes chronic damage to the liver and impacts its functioning. However, if alcohol is consumed disproportionately, it can even cause cancer.
Lung cancer accounts for close to 3.5 deaths which are caused due to cancer. It can be prevented by appropriate consumption of alcoholic beverages, and lifestyle checks can help individuals to reduce the risk that the consumption of alcohol can cause.
Consumption of alcohol alone cannot cause cancer. However, it can damage and weaken the immune system. A weak immune system would not be capable of fighting cancer cells. Hence, the cancer cells would grow and multiply more rapidly.
5. Weight Management and Diet
According to multiple studies, consuming red and processed meat increases the risk of developing cancer. High intake of fat and meat causes obesity, and lack of physical exercise is a contributor to poor lifestyle and physical health.
High concentrations of salt in the diet can also cause cancer. If individuals don't manage their weight appropriately, they can develop cancer. It is crucial to manage weight as physical inactivity contributes to cancer as well as impacts the immune system of the body and weakens it causing the cancer cells to multiply even more rapidly.
A poor lifestyle alone cannot cause cancer. However, it can further weaken the body and reduce the optimum performance of the immune system. This allows the cancer cells to damage the body and grow more significantly and rapidly.
Hormones promote cancer development as it impacts the multiplication of cells. Hormones play a vital role in cancers such as ovary, prostate, breast, bone and thyroid cancer.
Higher levels of hormones in the body of an individual result in a higher risk of cancer. However, treatments can help to reduce the level of hormones artificially. This would help reduce the changes and risk of cancer these hormones could cause.
Cancer caused due to hormonal imbalances, or changes can be detected and treated early. It can be detected with the help of proper tests and regular checkups. Hence, individuals need to have regular checkups.
More than 18% of cancer cases are caused due to infectious diseases which cause genetic instability or cause damage to the DNA of the individual. Parasites, bacteria and viruses are among the most infectious agents. Liver cancer and cervical cancer are majorly caused by viral infection. This viral infection weakens the critical parts of the body and creates a narrow window for the cancer cells to evade and multiply.
Bacteria and parasites can also cause cancer cells to grow and multiply. These bacteria and parasites increase their presence in the body, weakening the immune system and allowing cancer development.
With the help of proper medication and treatment, cancer caused due to infection can be treated. Hence, individuals need to have regular checkups.
Inflammation causes significant damage to the immune system, blood cells and tissues of the body. This creates room for the progression and development of cancer in that region. Since the immune system actively responds to the external stimulus, which causes inflammation, the cancer cells evade the immune system easily and rapidly grow and multiply.
Inflammation causes DNA damage and also causes alternations in the genetic material of the cells. Hence, it is extremely crucial to treat chronic inflammation.
Inflammation causes skin abnormalities and allows the cancer cells to evade and multiply rapidly. With proper medication, cancer can be avoided, or the risk can be reduced even if the individual faces chronic inflammation.
Electromagnetic and nuclear radiation is not similar to other elements which cause cancer. They are highly complex in their molecular structure and can cause significant damage and changes to the genetics and DNA of the individual.
They can even delete parts of the DNA and cause chromosome abnormalities which cause cell death. The damage might seem small but is stable and capable enough to develop into cancer. Radiation is so powerful that it can even damage and delete the tumour-suppressing genes, allowing cancer creation and favour tumour formation. This would increase the chances of mutations.
Electromagnetic radiation, such as radio waves and microwaves, are lower energy waves and don't have sufficient energy to break chemical bonds. However, x-rays, gamma radiation and UV rays have sufficient energy to cause cancer such as skin cancer.
10. Organ Transplant
Organ transplant has minor relation to cancer, and the chances of developing cancer out of it are also relatively lower. However, if the donor cells were infected due to any virus, the organ recipient could be impacted by cancer. It can only happen if such a tumour is undetected at the time of organ harvest.
It is quite rare for an individual to get cancer from the organ which has been transplanted as these organs are inspected to detect such abnormalities. Hence, patient with organ transplant requires regular post-checkups.
Cancer is a very complicated disease, and individuals must have regular checkups. These regular checkups would help them to identify any abnormalities in their body and would be able to treat them at the right time. There are multiple causes of cancer, most of which are caused by prolonged exposure to specific substances or elements.
The risk of cancer can be significantly reduced if the individuals avoid certain substances such as tobacco and prolonged exposure to UV rays and alcohol.
Cancer can cause multiple complications and impacts the patient and their supporters. It harms them more mentally than physically as it changes their state of mind and psychology towards everything. Hence, it is crucial to understand what elements can cause cancer and how their use or exposure can be avoided daily. Cancer formation not only weakens the immune system but also weakens the emotional support system of an individual along with the immune system.