Be Wary and Beware: Cancer and its Avoidable Risk Factors
Cancer is defined as an abnormal growth of cells, with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body . This uncontrolled cell proliferation and growth forms tumors. All tumors are not cancerous; Benign tumor do not spread to other parts of the body while malignant tumor are capable of invading adjacent tissues.
Over 100 types of cancers affect humans having some possible common symptoms; Skin changes, unexplained bleeding, unexplained weight loss, a lump or swelling and unexplained pain etc.There are different possible risk factors that can cause or enhance the risk of having cancer.
Age: Advancing age is the most important risk factor for cancer overall, and for many individual cancer types. In fact, 60% of people who have cancer are 65 or older. But the disease can occur at any age. For example, bone cancer is most frequently diagnosed among people under age 20. Some types occur in children and adults. So the prevention is to limit the risk factors of cancers.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can enhance risk of cancer of the esophagus, mouth, throat, larynx, liver, and breast. The more you drink, the higher your risk. The risk of cancer is much higher for those who drink alcohol and tobacco. No amount of alcohol is safe, avoid alcohol to avoid cancers.
Substances: Mentioned below are some of the well known cancer causing substances; Aflatoxins, Aristolochic Acids, Arsenic, Asbestos, Benzene, Nickel Compounds, Radon, Environmental tobacco smoke, Soot, Strong Inorganic Acid Mists Containing Sulfuric Acid, Thorium, Vinyl Chloride, Wood Dust, Cadmium, Coal Tar and Coal-Tar Pitch, Coke-Oven Emissions, Silica, Erionite, Indoor Emissions from the Household Combustion of Coal, Mineral Oils: Untreated and Mildly Treated, Asbestos etc. By preventing the use and exposure of these substances one can prevent the risks of cancer.
Diet: Consumption of an unhealthy diet can put you at risk of cancer, by using artificial sweeteners, processed meat as chemicals (HCAs and PAHs) in meat cooked at high temperatures can cause cancers, beverages, alcohol etc. By avoiding these unhealthy diets and using anti-cancerous diets, for instance recommended use of Vitamin D and calcium, use of fruits and vegetables (especially garlic), dairy products, protein, tea,the risk of cancer can be warded of.
Hormones: There are some hormones which can cause cancers, for instance; Estrogens, a group of female sex hormones, are known human carcinogens. Although these hormones have essential physiological roles in both females and males, they have also been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. On the other hand BPA is a weak synthetic estrogen found in many rigid plastic products, Avoid BPA or use BPA free products. While hormonal balance can also prevent cancers.
Infectious Agents: Certain infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, can cause cancer in infected people or increase the risk that cancer will form. Some viruses can disrupt normal controls on cell growth and proliferation. Some viruses, bacteria, and parasites also cause chronic inflammation, which may lead to cancer. Some infectious agents which can potentially cause cancers; Human Papilloma Virus, Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), Human Herpes Virus 8 (HHV8) etc.
Obesity: People who are obese may have an increased risk of several types of cancers, conversely, eating a healthy diet, being physically active and keeping a healthy weight may help reduce risk of some cancers. These healthy behaviors are also important to lessen the risk of other illnesses, such as heart disease, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Radiation: Radiations of certain wavelengths, called ionizing radiation, has enough energy to damage DNA and cause cancer. Ionizing radiation includes radon, x-rays, gamma rays, and other forms of high-energy radiation. Lower-energy, non-ionizing forms of radiation, such as visible light and the energy from cell phones and electromagnetic fields, do not damage DNA and have not been found to cause cancer.Protective measures must be taken in order to avoid radiation and prevent cancers.
Tobacco: Tobacco use is a leading cause of cancer and of death from cancer. People who use tobacco products or who are regularly around environmental tobacco smoke (also called secondhand smoke) have an increased risk of cancer because tobacco products and secondhand smoke have many chemicals that damage DNA. There is no safe level of tobacco use. People who use any type of tobacco product are strongly urged to quit avoiding cancers.
Genetics: Cancer is a genetic disease that is caused by certain changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide. These changes include mutations in the DNA that makes up our genes. These may be acquired mutations that occur from damage to genes during a person’s life by radiations or any other factor. Cancer that occurs because of acquired mutations is called sporadic cancer.
The other type is germline mutations which are less common and are passed directly from a parent to a child. Cancer caused by germline mutations is called inherited or hereditary cancer, and it makes up about 5% to 10% of all cancers.
This factor can be reduced by preventing the above risk factors that cause mutations and hereditary cancers can be controlled by genetics tests and by family history, as these tests may help to reduce the incidence of cancer in nascent generation.
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