Cancer Prevention Begins With Learning The Risk Factors Of Cancer

Cancer Prevention Begins With Learning The Risk Factors Of Cancer
16 Jul 2022
9 mins
Table Of Content
Cancer Prevention Begins With Learning The Risk Factors Of Cancer

    Did You Know? 


    The World Health Organization says that between 30 – 50 percent of cancers can be prevented by eliminating risk factors and including preventive strategies. Risk factors are anything that raises an individual’s chance of developing cancer. Though we cannot do anything about cancer risk factors such as age, we can make changes in diet, smoking, and other lifestyle-related factors to decrease our cancer risk. It also helps our health care provider decide whether a screening test at a young age or screening more often than usual is required or benefits us.

    General Risk Factors Of Cancer That Each Of Us Must Know Of:


    Age: Cancer can occur at any age, but most cancers are commonly seen in older people, and the median age of cancer diagnosis is 66, according to the recent statistical data from National Cancer Institute. This might be due to the extended exposure to the carcinogenic substances and weakening of the immune system, and certain slow-growing cancers may start showing symptoms. In contrast, some forms of cancer, including bone cancer, nervous system cancers, and blood cancers, are more commonly seen in children and adolescents.


    Alcohol: Alcohol consumption can raise the risk of developing cancers of the throat, voice box, food pipe, colon, rectum, breast, and liver. The more you consume alcohol, the more you are at risk of getting cancer. When you drink alcohol, it is broken down into a chemical substance called acetaldehyde, a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substance. Plus, the contaminants that might be added during the production process may also be carcinogenic. Those who find it hard to quit alcohol may at least try to limit the amount they drink to a standard drinking size. 


    Diet: Diet is one of the modifiable risk factors of cancer and research has found certain foods which increase the risk of cancer, including processed meats, red meat, charred meat, deep-fried foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, fast foods, salted fish, very hot beverages, and canned foods. Also, lots and lots of studies and renowned health organizations are stating that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains will reduce the risk of cancer. Know and educate yourself about cancer-reducing foods and cancer-causing foods.


    Exposure To Radiation, Sun, & Specific Chemicals: Exposure to radiation can damage the genetic material and cause cancer. High-energy radiation such as gamma rays, beta particles and x-rays can be released during nuclear power plant accidents and when the atomic weapons are tested or used. Medical procedures like CT scans and chest x-rays can also emit radiation that leads to cell damage and cancer, but the risk of cancer from these procedures is very small. 


    Radioactive gas released from rocks and soil can increase the risk of lung cancer. There are many easy options to check this gas and lessen the amount in the home to safe levels. Being exposed to chemicals such as asbestos, arsenic, and benzene in the workplace, or environment can also increase the risk of cancer. 


    Ultraviolet rays B and A from the sun can cause various types of skin cancer, particularly in white people. Usage of appropriate sunscreens and sun-protective measures can help prevent cancer. 


    Family History: Between five to ten percent of cancers are hereditary. It means you have a genetic mutation (change) that has come from either your parents or both, which raises your chance of getting cancer. Having the genetic condition doesn’t mean you will get that particular cancer, but you are at higher risk. You should discuss with your physician if anyone in your family has cancer or if you have any genetic conditions that may increase your risk of cancer. 


    Infectious Agents: Bacterial, viral, or any other infections can increase the risk of cancer. It may increase the risk by causing chronic inflammation, weakening the immune system, or by damaging the DNA. For example, the human papillomavirus is a common virus that can increase the risk of getting cervical, oral, anal, vaginal, and vulvar cancer. Getting the recommended vaccinations, not sharing drug-injecting equipment, or needles, or not having unprotected sex can lower the risk of infections. 


    Obesity: It is one of the major cancer risk factors. Being overweight or obese can raise the risk of around thirteen cancers, including cancers of the kidneys, ovaries, pancreas, thyroid, upper stomach, breast, food pipe, colon, rectum, uterus, and multiple myeloma. Obesity can also heighten your risk of other chronic conditions such as kidney disorders, high blood pressure, and sugar. Chronic inflammation and imbalance in hormones are common in obese people and may contribute to the increased cancer risk.


    Try to stay at a healthy BMI to decrease the risk of numerous health conditions. Body mass index in the range of 18.5 – 24.9 is a healthy weight, and BMI is calculated from an individual’s weight and height. BMI= Kg/m2.


    Tobacco: Smoking and any forms of tobacco use is the foremost risk factor for cancer and cancer-associated deaths. Most people think smoking leads to lung cancer, but it can cause cancer anywhere, including bladder cancer, cervix cancer, esophagus cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, stomach cancer, and colorectal cancer. 


    As it can cause cancer anywhere in the body, people who smoke need to quit immediately rather than limit it. Every time you smoke, you breathe in at least seventy chemicals that can cause cancer. People who are frequently around someone who smokes are also at high risk of getting cancer. 


    People with a suppressed immune system, have inflammatory disorders such as ulcerative colitis, lack of physical activity, or being exposed to high levels of sex hormones such as estrogen can also increase the risk of cancers. 

    Steps To Be Taken


    If you have any infections, inflammatory disorders, or genetic conditions that raise the risk of cancer, discuss them with the health care professional as soon as possible. If you are obese or if you smoke, it might be hard to lose weight, change the way you eat, or smoke. You may feel ashamed of talking about these things. Your physician can help you by recommending professionals to help you with this. Lead a healthy lifestyle and have a happy and disease-free life. 


    Written by
    GuruvigneshwariContent Writer
    AboutM.Pharmacy (Pharmacognosy)
    Tags :Risk factors of cancercancer risk factorscancer prevention