Cancer occurs when body cells grow and multiply out of control. It can start in any organ, like lungs, breast, colon, or even in blood, and spread to other body parts. It is hard to know the exact cause but there are certain risk factors that increase the chance of developing cancer. Limiting exposure to avoidable factors can reduce the risk of cancer.
- Breast and colon cancer can occur due to inherited genes from within the family though environmental factors can also influence these cancers.
- Consumption of alcohol, tobacco, pan (betel), antioxidant supplements, high calcium intake and charred meat can also be high risk factors.
- Obesity increases the risk of several types of cancer.
- In women, undergoing Menopausal Hormonal Therapy can increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Chronic inflammation due to infections, abnormal immune reactions or other conditions over time results in DNA changes, leading to cancer.
- Long term use of immuno suppressive drugs carries an increased risk of cancer.
- Exposure to pollutants in drinking water & air, food chemicals (dioxins), ionizing radiation (X-rays, Gamma rays), UV rays and chemical pollutants (arsenic, asbestos) are linked to different types of cancer.
- Infectious agents like Hepatitis B & C, HIV and HPVs can lead to chronic inflammation that causes cancer.
- Advancing age is one of the most important factors, though cancer can occur at any age.
Preventive health screening can identify cancer at an early stage and help conquer it. Screening for breast (mammogram), colorectal (colonoscopy), cervical (Pap smear) and prostate (PSA Test) cancer at regular intervals is advisable. Screening Tests recommended by a doctor doesn’t mean that the person has cancer – it simply helps in early diagnosis and timely intervention.
Note: This article is informational in nature and not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Source: Deccan Chronicle