Cancer Risk Factors – Prevention and Early Detection

What are the types of cancer risk factors?

Cancer can be caused by many factors, some of them are found to run in families. These are genetic or hereditary factors and can not be prevented. However, these factors can be detected early and treated. Some of the factors are repeated exposure to a carcinogen. These circumstances can be prevented and cancer risk avoided.

What factors can cause cancer?

Cancer is uncontrolled growth of tissues in the body. These malignant growths happen due to accumulated damage to the genes. Genetic damage in the body causing cancer can happen due to sudden change or slowly over years. Genetic damage occurring due to cancer causing substances ( carcinogen) can be prevented. These factors may be environmental, occupational or lifestyle factors.

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What are the environmental risk factors of cancer?

Risk factors in the environment are repeated exposure to –

  • Heat and Radiation
  • Tar and pitch
  • Plastic materials
  • Water containing mercury
  • Metals like Chromium, Nickel, Cadmium
  • Mineral oils
  • Smoke and asbestos

Which occupation carries cancer risk?

Various occupations expose us to chemicals and particulate materials. After repeated exposure these substances can damage the genes and cause cancer. Workers of the dyeing industries are exposed to harmful chemicals and are risk of developing bladder cancer in future. Textile factories and cotton mills are at risk of throat, lung and kidney cancer.

What are the lifestyle factors causing cancer?

Poor lifestyle leads to obesity and disorders like diabetes, hypertension and cardiac problems. Moderate rise in risk of breast cancer and colon cancer are related to unhealthy eating. Exposure to sunlight can lead to various skin cancers. Addiction to nicotine has high risk for lung cancer.

Which foods increase risk of cancer?

Processed foods that are high in sugar and low in fiber can expose to higher cancer risk. Processed meat that undergoes salting, curing or smoking can raise cancer risk in your body. It includes hot dogs, ham, bacon, chorizo, salami and some deli meats. High consumption of meat is linked to certain type of colon cancer. Overheating of food like grilling, frying, sautéing, broiling and barbecuing, can produce harmful compounds like heterocyclic amines. These overcooked food raises risk of cancer in your body. Eating too much can make you overweight and raise the risk of obesity linked cancer.

All types of alcoholic drinks, including red and white wine, beer, cocktails, and liquor, are linked with cancer. Alcohol in your body breaks down into a chemical called acetaldehyde which can damages your DNA.

Can infections lead to cancer?

Certain bacteria and viruses are associated with higher risk for cancer.

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori, which causes gastritis)
  • HBV, HCV (hepatitis viruses that cause hepatitis)
  • HPV (human papilloma virus, papilloma virus, which causes changes eg. Cervical cells)
  • EBV (Epstein-Barr virus, the herpes virus that causes inflammation of the throat lymphoid)

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