Cancer: Causes and Risk Factors - TV To Talk About | The Tulsa CW

Cancer: Causes and Risk Factors


According to the World Health Organization, cancer has become the second leading cause of death for humans worldwide. Statistics show that one in six deaths can be pinpointed to cancer. What’s surprising about this information is that WHO identified cancer as prevalent in low and middle-income countries.

Cancer is a degenerative disease that can affect almost every part of the body. The WHO defines cancers as the hasty creation of abnormal cells that spread and grow beyond their usual features that can later affect other systems and organs. This process is called metastasizing.

In 2018 alone, the World Health Organization listed 9.6 million deaths that are related to cancer. The top illnesses are as follows:

  • Lung Cancer 2.09 million cases
  • Breast Cancer 2.09 million cases
  • Colorectal Cancer 1.80 million cases
  • Prostate Cancer 1.28 million cases
  • Skin Cancer (non-melanoma) 1.04 million cases
  • Stomach Cancer 1.03 million cases

For a more in-depth understanding of this dreaded illness, we’ll give you a basic overview of the causes and factors that encourage the development of cancer.

Causes of Cancer

Cancer begins when healthy cells transform into tumor cells. These progress from a non-cancerous lesion into a malignant one. The World Health Organization explains that this process is caused by the person’s interaction with external agents and his or her genetic make-up. Cancer-inducing factors are categorized into three:

  • Physical Carcinogens (ionizing radiation and ultraviolet rays)
  • Chemical Carcinogens (tobacco smoke, asbestos, aflatoxin, and arsenic)
  • Biological Carcinogens (infections from bacteria, parasites or viruses)

Aside from these carcinogens, age is another factor to consider. This is due to the fact that an aging body hardly repairs its cells and bodily functions degrade over time.

Risk Factors for Cancer

Cancer is identified as a non-communicable disease whose risk increases when there is continued exposure to the following:

  • Unhealthy diet and constant consumption of fast food items
  • Tobacco use and second-hand smoke
  • Physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyle
  • Sexually transmitted HPV virus
  • Alcohol consumption

Turns out cancer can be recognized as a lifestyle-dependent disease where preventive measures can be applied. If you want to live a long and healthy life, here are some things you can do to prevent the rapid spread of cancer cells to the body’s healthy cells.

  • Avoid frequent consumption of preservative-riddled food items
  • Avoid alcohol intake and never smoke tobacco
  • Control occupational hazards by wearing safety gear like masks
  • Vaccinate against the Hepatitis B virus and HPV

Detection, Screening, and Treatment

Although there is no definite list of symptoms for cancer, people experiencing unexpected changes in the body should make an appointment with a licensed physician for early detection. When detected at an early stage, there is less morbidity, higher chances of survival, and less expensive and invasive treatment options. For example, individuals concerned about their thyroid should do immediate thyroid testing. Thyroid cancer is one type of cancer that is rare but curable, especially when caught at an early stage.

Once a patient has undergone the detection process, screening follows for those showing symptoms of a type of cancer. For instance, patients who are prone to risks of cervical cancer should go for HPV testing. After the screening, the illness will be prescribed with adequate treatment alternatives. Every type of cancer requires specific procedures like surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy to kill or stop damaging cells from spreading.

Cancer is a disease that hampers a person’s ability to live life to the fullest. However, the risks of contracting cancer can be prevented or minimized by choosing to live a food-conscious and active lifestyle.

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