Cancer is a wide variety of abnormal growth diseases that occur due to the rapid multiplication of cancerous cells in the body. This leads to life-threatening tumors that spread and hamper normal body functions. Cancer is a huge cause of concern because there has been a sudden rise in cases of it in the past decade.
Many cancers and cancer-associated deaths are recorded per day. To stay cancer-free, you have to be well informed on the factors that lead to it. From poor lifestyle and diet to lack of exercise, radiation and viral infections these are the top 10 factors that could lead to cancer.
10. Genetic Factors
All cancers are caused by damaged genes that change, a phenomenon known as mutation, before they begin to multiply rapidly. This genetic mutation can be passed down to your children and that puts them at a higher likelihood of developing cancers themselves.
Therefore you can get cancer due to inherited mutations in your genes. This is known as inherited cancer. The only way to know if you are at risk of certain inherited cancers is by looking into members of your family to your grandparents and great grandparents. If any of them had, for instance, liver cancer or lung cancer, you may be at risk of developing those cancers later in life.
9. Substance Abuse
Substance abuse is the use of legal or illegal drugs in amounts or methods that are harmful to the user. Examples of drugs often abused are cocaine, heroin, nicotine, crystal meth, marijuana, and prescription painkillers. These drugs not only give the user a feeling of being high they can also cause cancers.
There are primary two ways substance abuse can cause, through the carcinogenic chemicals in the substances that are sniffed or injected in the blood. The second way is through the smoke that accompanies the means of partaking the substances. For instance, people who smoke marijuana often can develop lung cancer because of the smoke’s effect on the lungs.
8. Poor Mental Health
We all have cancer cells in our bodies, and it can take anything from a sedentary lifestyle to a poor diet to trigger them into random multiplication. One cause for this trigger is poor mental health. When people are in a state of wellbeing, it is easier for their bodies to flush out toxins and their immune systems to fight diseases and infections.
On the other hand, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety would affect one’s physical state and physiological processes. Poor mental health would lead to a lower immunity in the body that would not be able to destroy cancer cells as soon as they start replicating.
7. Improper Diet
No single food can prevent cancer by itself, what you need is a healthy balanced diet. Improper diets that cause cancer include fast foods laden with saturated fats and sodium and soft drinks full of refined sugars. These foods are high in carbs and calories that need to be used up through physical activity or they will otherwise fuel the growth of cancerous cells.
They also put the body in unhealthy states such as obesity limiting your ability to move around and keep fit. Evidence indicates that up to 30-35 % of cancer deaths are related to poor diet. So what would a proper diet look like? Well, this would consist of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat free-dairy, fish, lean meats and nuts.
6. Poor Lifestyle
Poor lifestyle is the higher risk factor for cancer after genetics. You what they say, the genes load the gun and lifestyle pulls the trigger. A major component of poor lifestyle is sedentary living; this is avoiding any forms of physical activities including exercise.
When the body is inactive for most of the time it becomes clumsy in executing its physiological processes such as removal of waste and breaking down food into energy. This waste can accumulate in the body and trigger the replication of cancerous cells and the extra energy that is not being used up can fuel their rapid growth.
Another component of poor lifestyle is poor dietary practices. Diets high in processed foods, trans-fats, and refined sugars will deprive you of essential nutrients that boost your body’s immunity in the fight against cancer. The good news is that lifestyle is formed through learned habits. With practice and routine, you can learn to exercise often and eat right.
5. Lack Of Exercise
A study by JAMA Internal Medicine found that physical activity reduced the risk of liver cancer, stomach cancer, kidney cancer, myeloid leukemia, and esophageal cancer. This makes exercise one of the best cancer-fighting weapons. Exercise is so effective because it keeps the body running to accomplish its vital physiological processes such as digestion, absorption of food compounds and removal of toxic wastes.
It also keeps your weight in check through the constant burning of excess calories and body fat. Without loosely hanging calories, there is no extra energy to fuel cancerous cells. A sedentary lifestyle with a lack of exercise is a sure precondition for developing cancer.
4. Viral Infections
Viral infections due not by themselves cause cancers. However, they increase a person’s risk of developing cancer. One way in which they do so is by engaging and weakening the immune system. A weaker immune system abandons its work of destroying cancerous cells which can begin to grow rapidly into malignant tumors.
Viruses can also cause cancers directly through their replication process. When viruses invade healthy cells, the insert their RNA into the DNA of the cells, effectively hijacking them for replication purposes. These cells become impaired in their fundamental genetic level and they could turn cancerous. Here are the 7 viruses and the cancers they are known to cause;
- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV): Burkitt lymphoma
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV): liver cancer
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV): liver cancer
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): Kaposi sarcoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Human papillomavirus (HPV): anal and cervical cancers
- Human T-cell leukemia virus: leukemia
Radiation is a cancer-causing factor because it affects the fundamental levels of the cells. High energy radiation and Ionizing radiation and such as x-rays, gamma rays and radon damage the DNA molecules of healthy cells. The damaged cells if not repair or destroyed can become cancerous, go haywire and begin to multiply rapidly.
Germ cells, these are cells necessary for reproduction such as sperms and ova can be also damaged by radiation. When this happens there is a risk of passing down genetic deformities to your children. The only way to protect against cancers caused by radiation is to avoid exposure to harmful doses.
2. Smoking And Alcohols
The more cigarettes you smoke, the more likely you are to develop cancer. The nicotine and other harmful chemicals released when tobacco is burned are poisons. They weaken the immune system making it harder to destroy cancerous cells. These poisons can also damage a cell’s DNA hampering normal growth and function causing them and degenerate into cancer.
Smoking has been associated with many cancers they are as follows; lung cancer, cancer of the mouth, nose, and throat, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, and colorectal cancer and acute myeloid leukemia.
Alcohols cause cancer in a much similar way to smoking. Its byproducts damage the cells of vital body organs such as the liver and the colon. Frequent alcohol consumption also weakens your body’s immune system and hence making it hard to fight cancer. Alcohol is well known to cause liver cancer and can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer, cancers of the throat and the laryngeal (voice box).
1. Environmental Pollution
The leading form of environmental pollution is air pollution. It occurs when toxic wastes in the form of tiny particles and fumes are released into the air from factories and exhaust pipes of cars and other machines. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies certain compounds from outdoor pollution as carcinogens. These include black smoke, aerosol sprays, engine exhaust, microscopic metals, and dust. There is a linked increase in cases of lung cancer and populations exposed to these air pollutants.
Other forms of environmental pollution include water pollution in rivers and lakes, soil pollution, and nuclear pollution. These forms of pollution entail contamination of water and soil with heavy metals such as lead that find their way in the water we drink and the food we eat. They end up hindering the normal function of cells. Radioactive substances on the other hand damage cells causing them to multiply randomly into cancerous tumors.