What Causes Cancer?

Understanding the various causes of cancer has been an ongoing challenge for too many years. For instance, getting an X-ray was once considered completely safe. Today, scientists know that prolonged exposure to the type of radiation in X rays, can lead to cancer.
Cancer develops from changes in the DNA, or genetic material, of the body's cells, causing them to grow and reproduce uncontrollably. Scientists believe four factors can promote these cellular changes:environment,diet,heredity, andlifestyle.


Ultraviolet light or solar radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer.The most common skin cancers are non-melanomas, which spread slowly and, if detected in time, are likely curable. Excessive sun exposure is also associated with melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer, which can spread rapidly to other body sites.

Of all skin color types, fair skin people are most sensitive to skin cancers.dark skin people, should take these precautions:limit amount of sun exposure, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Radiation, such as the kind in X rays, nuclear power plants, and nuclear weapons, can also cause cancer. The risk of getting cancer depends on how much exposure an individual gets. The average radiation dose in a single X ray is low, so the risk is small.However, because effects of radiation can accumulate over time, people should avoid unnecessary exposures.

Some cancer causing chemicals, have been launched into the environment through air pollution. These cancer causing chemicals include:benzene and vinyl chloride; which some factories discharge into streams, rivers, and other water bodies. Though the amounts are small in human terms, they become concentrated in fish and can cause cancer in them.When people are in areas of high industrial pollution, water purification is advised. Do not eat fish caught in polluted waters, since the fish might also contain large amounts of the chemicals.

Some people are exposed to carcinogens at work.The first link between occupation and cancer, was noted in eighteenth century England, where physicians saw high rates of cancer in men, who were chimney sweeps in their youth. The physicians determined exposure to soot in the chimneys had caused the cancer. Once the sweeps wore protective clothing and routinely cleaned the soot off their bodies, the cancer rate dropped.Asbestos is another occupational carcinogen. The association between lung cancer and asbestos became clear in the 1950's; ten years later, regulations limiting asbestos in the workplace were enacted.
Occupational exposure might be related to up to 5% of cancer deaths.


Foods such as hot dogs, bacon, ham, pickled meats, and fish, have preservatives called; nitrites.Nitrites convert to another chemical called; nitrosamines, which are known cancer causing agents.
Researchers have linked an increased risk of stomach cancer, to over consumption of smoked or cured foods. Eating such foods only occasionally, is not harmful.

Researchers have linked a diet high in calories and fat, to an increase in cancer.People in the U.S., consume more fat than in other countries, resulting in a higher incidence of breast cancer and colon cancer.Consuming large amounts of refined sugars with a high fat diet, increases the risk of developing colon cancer. Cutting back on fatty foods or using low fat substitutes, lowers the risk of contracting these kinds of cancer.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, are low in fats, high in nutrients, and contain ingredients that may reduce cancer risk.Carrots are high in beta carotene, which metabolizes to form vitamin A. Diets rich in beta carotene have reduced the occurrence of some cancers, includinglung,esophagus,stomach,bladder, andbreast. Vitamins C and E, found in lettuce and salad greens, help reduce cancer risks by decreasing the formation of the carcinogenic nitrosamines.Fruits, vegetables, and grains might protect against colon and rectal cancer because they contain much dietary fiber. Fiber is indigestible plant material that helps clean out the large intestine, preventing accumulation of fecal material that might promote cancerous cell growth.


Although people cannot inherit most cancers, they can pass down a susceptibility to developing cancer.Careful cancer screening, cancer tests, and preventive measures, are advised if the family history includes cancer.


Cigarette smoking is the major cause of cancer in the U.S., and leads to almost one third cancer deaths in the U.S. Researchers directly link smoking to cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, bladder, kidney, and pancreas. Tobacco contains many carcinogens that promote cell mutation and growth. Even breathing secondhand smoke may be associated with an increase in lung cancer.

Too much alcohol can lead to cirrhosis, a liver disease resulting from chronic liver tissue damage. Cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer.Researchers also relate excess alcohol consumption to mouth and throat cancers. Excessive drinking combined with smoking increases this incidence.People who exercise, have lower death rates from cancer, than do people who don't exercise. Exercise reduces a person's fat ratio and improves immune system function. Some studies show that exercise may prevent malignant cells from spreading.

Experts think that factors within our control might cause nearly 70% of cancers. For example,more than 80% of lung cancer patients are smokers.

Notice: The information provided herein, should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

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