Cancer Risk Factors

Cancer – Possible Causes & Risk Factors

Possible Causes And Risk-Factors For Cancer

Things you cannot change or influence

Ageing

Age has been identified as the greatest risk factor for cancer

Ageing - Cancer Risk Factors

Ageing – Cancer Risk Factors

Statistically, it is said that 60% of people who develop cancer are 65 or older. So are 60% of cancer survivors.
Although scientists have known for years that age is a leading risk factor for the development of many types of cancer, it is still unclear why aging increases the risk of cancer.
Researchers suspect that DNA methylation, or the binding of chemical tags, called methyl groups, onto DNA, may be involved.

Family History

Cancer in a close relative, like a parent or a sibling, is more cause for concern than in a more distant relative

Family History – Cancer Risk Factors

Family History – Cancer Risk Factors

Many people worry that a family history of cancer means that they too, are at higher risk of getting it. This isn’t always the case, however, medical check-ups are advised.
In order for a General Practitioner (GP) to assess the risks of one getting cancer, a number of questions will be asked about the cancer family history of cancer. Depending on one’s answers, the GP will then be able to determine one’s risk of getting the cancer as: average risk, moderate risk or high risk.

Certain things also make it more likely that cancers in a family are caused by a family cancer syndrome. These include: many cases of an uncommon type of cancer such as Kidney Cancer, cancers occurring at a younger age than usual, more than one type of cancer in a single person and more than one childhood cancer in a set of siblings.

Pollution

There have been several research reports providing evidence that pollution increases the chance of one getting cancer

Pollution – Cancer Risk Factors

Pollution – Cancer Risk Factors

Air pollution, in particular, is also often associated with causing Lung Cancer; however, smoking still remains the leading cause of the cancer.
The main causes of air pollution include: transport, some pollutants, farming fossil fuel power stations as well as some fuels people use to cook and heat their homes.
However, as with most cancer risk factors, the risk is higher the more someone is exposed to the substance.

For instance, as aforementioned, although air pollution increases the risk of developing Lung Cancer by a small amount, other things have a much bigger effect on the risk, particularly smoking.

Other Illnesses

Other illnesses also often contribute the occurrence of cancer

Other Illnesses – Cancer Risk Factors

Other Illnesses – Cancer Risk Factors

The causes of cancer are large and wide, and often hard to pin point the cause to one particular thing. Other illnesses also often contribute the occurrence of cancer.
The risk of having Hodgkin’s disease is, for example, high in people affected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
It is imperative that as one receives treatment, they consult their doctor and have all tests done in case they suspect they may have cancer.

Possibilities beyond the default oncology treatments of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy

Occupation (eg. mining)

Of the total cancer-related deaths that occur each year, a small percentage of that is often related to the deceased’s occupations

Occupation (eg. mining) – Cancer Risk Factors

Occupation (eg. mining) – Cancer Risk Factors

About half of these deaths are also often linked to male construction workers who are most likely to come into contact with asbestos, as well as other carcinogens such as silica and diesel engine exhaust.

Asbestos remains the most significant occupational risk factor. Albeit it is no longer used in construction, maintenance on old buildings can still be a risk factor for workers today. Asbestos-related cancers will continue to rise as they can take a long time to develop.

After asbestos, the main work-related risk factors have been night-shift work (associated with female Breast Cancer cases), mineral oil from metal and printing industries (linked to Bladder Cancer, Lung Cancer and Non-melanoma Skin Cancer).

Smoking / Tobacco Use

Tobacco smoke is a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Cigarette smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in the body

Smoking / Tobacco Use – Cancer Risk Factors

Smoking / Tobacco Use – Cancer Risk Factors

While cigarette smoking remains a prime factor for Lung Cancer, it is also a risk factor for other cancers.

When one inhales cigarette smoke, they are bound to swallow some of it, this then creates the risk of developing Stomach Cancer. Kidney Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Colon Cancer and Bladder Cancer are also other examples of cancers that have smoking as risk factors.

Smoking also remains a huge cause of Oral Cavity Cancer (tongues, lips, gums) and Mouth, Head and Neck Cancer.

Second-hand Smoke

It is important to note, that although smokers are at a great risk of developing various kind of cancers, so are second-hand smokers

Second-hand Smoke – Cancer Risk Factors

Second-hand Smoke – Cancer Risk Factors

Non-smokers who breathe in other people’s tobacco smoke are at risk too.
Children or teenagers who have been exposed to second-hand smoke may be particularly at risk of developing Lung Cancer later in life.
They also have an increased risk of developing Asthma and other respiratory problems.

Chronic Lack of Sleep

Sleep deprivation hardly ever sounds like a big deal to many; however, some of its effects are serious and are worth being astutely aware of

Chronic Lack of Sleep – Cancer Risk Factors

Chronic Lack of Sleep – Cancer Risk Factors

People with Circadian Rhythm Disorders, a case in which the body’s biological clock is disrupted because of shift work, for example, are at risk of developing Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer due to their irregular work shifts.

A chronic lack of sleep can also put one at a risk of developing: heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.

Chronic Stress or Sadness

Evidence from experimental studies does suggest that psychological stress can affect a tumor’s ability to grow and spread

Chronic Stress or Sadness – Cancer Risk Factors

Chronic Stress or Sadness – Cancer Risk Factors

Without a doubt, stress remains a great part of our lives and although research hasn’t definitely shown that stress directly causes cancer, there have been studies showing that chronic stress or sadness are great contributors to the development of cancer.

Part of the reason stress is linked to cancer, is simply because when people are under pressure, they make poor choices — they begin smoking, stop exercising, start eating unhealthy foods — which are all factors that are linked to cancer.

Some studies have even gone as far as to show that women who’ve experienced traumatic life events or losses in previous years have significantly higher rates of developing breast cancer.

Consumption of Junk Food

Eating junk food has predominantly been found to raise women’s risks of developing a range of cancers

Consumption of Junk Food – Cancer Risk Factors

Consumption of Junk Food – Cancer Risk Factors

A major European study established that women with raised levels of sugar face significant risks of suffering from: Pancreatic Cancer, Skin Cancer, Womb Cancer and Urinary Tract Cancer.

Eating lots of chips, cakes, desserts and sugary drinks have also been associated with Colorectal Cancer. Although the major risk factors of the illness include smoking and having a family history, a great consumption of sugar-filled snack foods, have been associated with Colorectal Cancer.

Consumption of Alcohol

There has also been further scientific consensus of an association between the drinking of alcohol and several types of cancer

Consumption of Alcohol – Cancer Risk Factors

Consumption of Alcohol – Cancer Risk Factors

Alcohol consumption has been identified as an independent risk factor for Liver Cancer, also known as Hepatocellular Carcinoma. There has also been further scientific consensus of an association between the drinking of alcohol and several types of cancer. The research provides evidence to the indication that the more alcohol a person drinks, especially regularly over time, the higher their risk of developing an alcohol-associated cancer.

There have been clear patterns that associate alcohol consumption and the development of the following types of cancers: Head and Neck Cancer, Esophageal Cancer, Breast Cancer and Colorectal Cancer.

Some alcoholic beverages have been identified to contain a variety of carcinogenic contaminants that are introduced during fermentation and production, these include: phenols, hydrocarbons, nitrosamines and asbestos fibers.

This has, among other ways, been established to be one of the ways in which alcohol increases the risk of cancer.

Unhealthy Weight Gain

Fat cells may release hormones that affect cell growth, leading to cancer

Unhealthy Weight Gain – Cancer Risk Factors

Unhealthy Weight Gain – Cancer Risk Factors

Gaining weight as an adult increases the risk for several cancers, even if the weight gain doesn’t result in overweight or obesity. It isn’t known exactly how being overweight increases cancer risk.

Unhealthy weight gain, often poses a number of health risks, these include: Kidney Disease, Osteoarthritis, Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Stroke and Apnea.

Obesity, has also been associated with increased risks of the following types of cancer: Pancreas, Kidney, Esophagus, Gallbladder, Breast, Endometrium, Colon and rectum, Thyroid.

Excessive Sun Exposure

The ultraviolet light in sunlight damages the DNA in the skin cells

Excessive Sun Exposure – Cancer Risk Factors

Excessive Sun Exposure – Cancer Risk Factors

Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun. This could be as a result of long term exposure, or short periods of intense sun exposure and burning. The ultraviolet light in sunlight damages the DNA in the skin cells. This damage can happen years before a cancer develops.

People who are excessively exposed to the sun are at risk of developing various types of skin cancer like: Melanoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC).

To avoid excessive sun exposure, simple proactive steps such as the wearing of protective clothing and applying sunscreen are recommended.

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