Cancer is amongst the leading causes of natural death. There are about 200 known types of cancer. This progressive disease is multifactorial – there are several factors that can cause it.Breast cancer can be caused by factors like family history, a personal history of cancer, absence or lack of physical activities, etc. Skin cancer is caused by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
Cervical cancer is caused by HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). The risk factors for cancer include heredity, age, tobacco, radiation, sunlight, carcinogens, certain virus and bacteria, and a genetic predisposition.
Age. 60 might be the new 40, and 40 might be the new 30, but the body recognises advancing age and most types of cancer become more common with age. One reason is that the body’s immunity reduces with age. More importantly, the changes that make a cell cancerous might sometimes lie dormant for years together or take time to develop.
Genetic predisposition. For a cell to become cancerous, several genetic mutations are required. Sometimes a person is born with these mutations, making them likely to develop cancer.
Heredity. A family history of cancer (like breast cancer) increases the risk factor for cancer. It does not mean that if you have a family history, you will develop cancer; you only have a greater chance of developing it.
Low immunity. People with weak immunity are more susceptible to some types of cancer.
Smoking. This one reason alone accounts for a quarter of all cancers. Tobacco smoke can lead to cancer of the mouth, lungs, throat, bladder, etc. Quitting smoking immediately reduces your likelihood of getting cancer.
Carcinogens. Substances causing cancer are called carcinogens. Exposure to carcinogens ups the chances of getting cancer in direct proportion.
Diet/ physical activity. Oncologists suggest that eating a balanced diet, tweaking our body weight to reach its optimal level, and regular exercises can prevent cancer. Foods rich in fat and low on nutrition, and alcohol increase the risk of cancer.
Environment. The environment around you can cause cancer. For instance, radiation, tobacco smoke, asbestos, the sun, etc.
Viruses. It’s not as though viruses directly attack you and afflict you with cancer. Instead, viruses can cause genetic changes in your cells, making them cancerous. For example, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that can lead to cervical cancer.
Cancer has no clear or specific symptoms, making it essential to undergo cancer screening tests regularly.