Cancer risk factors crop up due to several modifiable factors and unmodifiable factors. For example, aging is in unmodifiable but lifestyle is modifiable. Thus, we can take some measures to prevent the condition from happening and decrease the chances.
We cannot deny the fact that cancer is associated with aging – the longer you live, the more chances you have to accumulate cancer building cells. As per studies, more than 40% of new cancer cells can be avoided by making lifestyle changes. The biggest risk of cancer is smoking and pushes your body to more than 20% risk of having cancer.
Developing cancer is like a series of events that happen over a span of time. It makes healthy genetic cells damage and makes your body go through intermediate stages. It gets on your tissues that are independent of the regulatory system of the body. With time, the man-alignment of tissues causes symptoms and that are later diagnosed as cancer.
There can be times when cancer causes cannot be specified with a single reason. The disease is so diverse that its causes, symptoms, progression, and treatment keep changing. There are many human factors that can cause cancer. But there are also external factors that your body develops.
To prevent our body from cancer risk factors, we need to take measures that avoid it completely. These factors can be roughly segregated as:
- Internal factors like sex, age, metabolism of foreign substances, genetic defects, gene disorder, skin type, lifestyle, and more
- Occupation exposure like radioactive material, chemicals, and asbestos
- Environmental exposure like UV radiation, radon, small particles, and more
Proportions of cancer risks factors
There have been several attempts to relate to different risk factors that are associated with cancer. By changing the risk factors – that individuals can do with their actions, is estimated to avoid cancer by 43%.
The biggest factor is smoking that might prevent you from having cancer by 20%. This means if you’re a non-smoker and you avoid it passively; you have 20% fewer chances to have cancer. Check out all the modifiable and unmodifiable cancer risk factors listed below:
Unmodifiable cancer risk factors
Here are some of the common risk factors that we can do nothing about:
Most cancer risks are associated with growing age. The longer you live, the likelier you are to accumulate cancer cells. You need to have the ability to prevent and recover from defects that weaken with age.
Some cancers can happen to you according to your gender. For example, ovarian cancer can only happen to women, while prostate cancer can only happen to men. The age-related morbidity of having laryngeal cancer in males in more than 10 times what it is for females.
Chances of having lip cancer and lung cancer were three times more during the ’60s than what it is today. Such changes explain that smoking habits for males and females have evolved in various ways over the past decades.
Cancer cells that cause tumors are neither hereditary nor contagious. But the susceptibility of having an increased risk of cancer can be hereditary. Actress Angelina Jolie went through cancer preventive measures to not get the disease because she lost her mother to it. But not everyone can afford such medical intervention and get support from medical science
If your parents or grandparents had cancer, there are chances that the human cells have been passed onto you. Moreover, environmental factors can often trigger the man-alignment of such cases.
Modifiable cancer risk factors
Since we cannot do much about the natural aspects of cancer risks, we need to take care of our bodies by keeping a check on the modifiable factors:
1. Stop the use of tobacco
Tobacco is the most hazardous cancer risk factor due to the number of carcinogenic compounds in it. Smoking is the most used tobacco products all across the world and must be avoided at all cost.
Smoking causes lung cancer there are more chances of having it at a young age. The more you smoke on a daily basis, the longer it takes to quit smoking. For example, if a person has been smoking 40 cigarettes for the past 50 years, his chances of having lung cancer is 50 times more than non-smokers.
When you quit smoking, the risk of lung cancer can still remain. But when you stop, you can take preventive measures to not let it get to you any time soon and make lifestyle changes to not have it at all.
People who have smoked for a long time can benefit from quitting. It is one of the major causes of larynx and can lead to oral, kidney, esophageal, pancreatic, cervical, bladder, and pharyngeal cancers. Women tend to have breast cancer caused by smoking or tobacco usage too.
2. Drinking heavily
Having too much of alcoholic beverages can lead to cancer as well. Heavy uses of alcohol enhance the risk of oral, liver, pharynx, larynx, bowel, breast, and esophagus cancer.
People who have more than four daily doses of cancer doubles the chances of pharyngeal and oral cancer. There are many other factors that can increase when you have too much of alcohol. For example, drinking is often associated with smoking and they can together worsen the chances of having pharyngeal and oral cancer.
There is no safe alcohol use that can prevent breast cancer. The risk of cancer can increase and is directly proportionate to the amount women consume regularly. The bad effects of alcohol come from the ethanol content. Thus, it is important to limit or completely avoid the usage of alcohol.
Diet is complicated because it has both joint effects and contrary effects. However, nutrition is also the most effective way of preventing cancerous conditions. Bad nutrition can cause effects on the lungs and breasts. But more common cancers due to bad diet are colon, bladder, rectum, prostate, and endometrial risks.
According to animal tests, if dietary fat keeps increasing there is a risk of colon, pancreatic, and colon cancer. However, there isn’t enough information on people to prove this accurately. Cancer tissues need minerals and energy, so nutrition can leave an impact on cancer development and growth.
Adding dietary fibers to your diet will help you stay protected from colorectal cancer. You can have root vegetables, rye bread, to make your diet healthier. You should also have lots of citrus fruits and ones that have a lot of antioxidants.
Effect of processed meat or red meat can increase risk of gastric cancer. Prostate and pancreatic cancer can also happen due to heavy consumption of red meat. You need to add lots of vitamins to your body to keep away cancer cells from building. An overall balanced diet is necessary to maintain a healthy body.
There is a direct link between physical activity and reducing cancer risk factors. Many studies have found scientific evidence that being physically active prevents colon, breast, prostate, and endometrial cancer.
Doing moderate physical activity can bring a change in metabolism and improve hormonal, balance. Exercising regularly reduces fat tissues and the growth factors in the body tend to become balanced. However, it is important to maintain both diet and exercise to maintain weight and prevent diseases.
As per studies, our bodies need a minimum one hour of activities to keep us healthy. That can be walking to work, biking, climbing stairs, or going to the gym. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the killing factors and causes of obesity. Exercising a little every day or at least 3-4 days can keep you healthier and happier.
5. Hormones and reproduction
Cancer in female genitals or breast are related to sexual or reproductive actions. If women have multiple sexual partners, she has more chances to develop cervical cancer. They also have more chances of having infectious viruses due to sexual contact. It is always good to use protection, and best if both men and women do not have multiple sexual partners.
Having a baby at a young age or giving birth to many children can prevent breast cancer. If a woman is infertile, she must have a thorough doctor’s checkup as it might indicate endometrial or ovarian cancer. Women who have early sexual maturity or late menopause have higher menstruating cycles. This increases the chances of the aforementioned cancers.
It is easy to detect ovarian, breast and endometrial cancers when you go through long-term hormone therapy during menopause. Progesterone, due to estrogen replacement can increase the chances of breast cancer but protects endometrial cancer.
Benefits of replacing estrogen while treating menopause must be properly scrutinized, as they come along with risks of cancer. With regard to men – high male hormone or androgen can bring in more chances of prostate cancer.
Intentionally or unintentionally, we are all exposed to several types of chemicals in our daily lives. Do you know that deodorants and hair dyes can be risk factors of cancer? The use of hair dyes can increase the chances of breast and bladder cancer according to speculative researches. However, there is no definitive evidence or the level of potential risk in can bring to our health.
Some infections can be a risk for you and lead to cancer. Certain infection caused by bacteria might bring in cancer cells. A well-researched virus family that can cause cancer are papillomavirus. Some of them result in chronic inflammation and lead to cervical cancer.
Papilloma viruses can cause other cancer types like pharyngeal cancer. There are certain vaccines that you need to take in order to prevent your body from such viruses. For women, HPV vaccination is important. However, we all need regular follow up to understand what our health condition is.
Bacteria named Helicobacter Pylori can increases the chances of gastric cancer. Liver inflammation caused by hepatitis B or C viruses can increase the chances of liver cancer. The first place to recognize this was Taiwan and that’s how vaccination of hepatitis A and B started in 1984. It gradually showed lesser chances of liver cancer in people and the entire world followed the footsteps led by Taiwan.
Cancer risk factors at work
The impact of work due to chemical usage, inhaling smoke, and other aspects are equally important to consider. There are many cancer hazards that people are made aware of all the time, and the awareness must be incorporated at work too.
If you’re working in an environment where there is a low of gases that you can inhale or chemicals that you touch, you can be at risk. Before starting out at work, you need to know the preventive measures to analyze if at all you want to take such risks.
Even the UV rays of the sun can cause cancer, so someone who has a marketing job needs to know how to protect their bodies. Many farmers and fishermen have been found with a high risk of lip cancer for being outdoor for long hours. While there have been risks of cutaneous melanoma for people working indoors due to a rare skin condition.
Cancer risks at work also include having unhealthy working hours and being sedentary most of the time. So many people sit for more than six hours every day and push themselves onto having an unhealthy lifestyle. This is another reason why physical activity is necessary and people need to be on their toes every time they can.
Most of the cancer risk factors are included in a larger perspective under environmental factors. But we cannot deny that there are many real problems in the environment that lead to unfit lives. For example, chemicals from factories, water contamination, pollution, and few of the many problems that can lead to several diseases including cancer. Climate change is one of the worse effects that could have happened in the world today, and we all need to find ways to act on it.
If you analyze the things you can change versus the ones you cannot, you will find that there is a lot of things that are in your hands. From your lifestyle to have a healthy work-life balance, you need to prevent yourself from risks. Once you make drastic changes and stick to the discipline, you will be much lesser at risk of having cancer than many others.