Cancer is a life-threatening disease and when it affects a normal human being, their health deteriorate drastically. In recent years, the percentage of cancer affected patients has increased drastically. You just cannot identify how and when you might get affected by it. There are certain cancer risk factors which, if you can identify then you might be extra cautious about it. The risk factors we are about to discuss over here often seem to be casual things but they aren’t.
You need to be aware of your body, your immune system, and the risk factors related to cancer. This, in turn, will help you stay away from it. Given the current environmental and physical conditions of humans, one cannot be sure that he or she will never get affected by cancer. There are factors that are beyond your control, such as age, family history, etc. In such cases, you can just try and be cautious about the risk factors, causes, symptoms, etc.
Scientists are researching to prevent cancer and how can a cancer patient lead a normal life. Yes, normal life can be led by any cancer patient depending on which stage of cancer you are in. if you are not affected by cancer then you need to follow certain measures so that you don’t get affected by the risk factors as well. Here, we have listed some of the common and a few uncommon cancer risk factors. Go through it and act on them so that you don’t have to visit a doctor for treating cancer.
Environment Related Cancer Risk Factors
There are several types of cancer that affect different parts of our body. In the US, people are highly affected by cancer due to some of these risk factors. It is a disease that can be cured of treated in the right manner at the right time. It is a myth that cancer can be caused by the excess consumption of tobacco and alcohol only. These are a couple of risk factors but there are other risk factors as well. Some of these are environmental factors too. You need to understand what these factors are and how can you safeguard yourself from them.
According to the 14th report on Carcinogens produced by the National Toxicology Program, the cancer risk factors listed below are the most common ones in the US. Carcinogens are substances or elements which cause cancer. Although all of these substances don’t cause cancer, they act as an influencer.
One of the most common cancer diseases is lung cancer. Almost 80% to 90% of lung cancer cases are caused due to smoking. Besides, it is not mandatory that you need to be a chain smoker to get affected by cancer. In some cases, passive smokers are also affected by it. Smoking products like vapes, cigarettes, cigars, snuff, pipes and chewing tobacco are the agents that cause cancer. It is one of the core risk factors of cancer. You can safeguard yourself if you quit smoking now. A cigarette not only harms you but the people around you as well.
Alcohol is addictive when you start consuming it regularly. Besides, it is one of the major risk factors leading to cancer. For instance, consuming 3 to 4 drinks per day can lead to neck and head cancer diseases. Apart from this, alcohol consumption can also lead to breast cancer in women, liver, colorectal and esophageal cancers as well. Alcohol has a higher risk of causing you cancer because it damages the protein and DNA cells in your body. Further, it also enhances the estrogen levels in the body. People who are highly addicted to tobacco and alcohol have a higher risk of cancer.
You might think obesity has no connection with cancer but it has. Obesity is the cause of 13 different types of cancer. Among these 13 types, prostate and breast cancer are the most common ones. Obesity is a serious issue hardly concerns the people of the US. A study revealed that lack of physical activity and obesity has contributed to a minimum of 25% of cancer cases. These cases have been registered with uterine, esophageal, breast, kidney and colorectal cancer. The best way to get rid of obesity is physical exercise and a proper, healthy diet.
4. UV Radiation
UV rays mostly come from the sun. After the depletion of the ozone layer, the harmful effects of UV rays have increased drastically. In addition to this, the cases have increased due to this. Skin cancer is caused when UV rays damage cell DNA. A study revealed that as much as 3 to 4 million of Americans are been tested with skin cancer every year. Melanoma is the most common skin cancer which affects the people of the US. The best way to avoid skin cancer is by reducing exposure to ultraviolet rays. Further, you can use sunscreen and other skin protection products from UV rays.
Other Cancer Risk Factors
Keeping the environmental reasons apart, here we have a few more risk factors of cancer. These factors do not contribute directly to the cause of cancer. Consequently, they do have a lot of adverse effects on the human body among which cancer is one. Some factors might be known to you but not all of these. If you are in terms of any of these risk factors then you should immediately get yourself checked.
1. Oral Contraceptives
The connection between oral contraceptives and cancer is very theoretical and study based. A lot of researches and surveys have been done on this topic to verify whether they have a relationship or not. You can consume oral contraceptives as it doesn’t cause cancer directly. It is possible that oral contraceptives can contribute to the cause of cancer in some cases. This is the reason why oral contraceptives are being placed in this as one of the cancer risk factors. Various studies conducted on women who use oral contraceptives as well as who don’t have provided enough data. This, in turn, helps to justify the fact that oral contraceptives can lead to cancer up to some extent. In most cases, women are affected by breast and cervical cancer due to oral contraceptives.
There have been loads of studies on women who are affected by breast cancer and their consumption of oral contraceptives. It is pretty evident that contraceptives have a certain level of side effects which might lead to cancer. Although there are other factors that can also lead to breast cancer, such as the patient’s medical history, hereditary, age, etc. A study revealed that women who consumed oral contraceptives have a 7% risk of breast cancer. On comparing to women who are currently on oral contraceptives have a higher risk of breast cancer by 24%. The risk percentage decreases as the consumption of oral contraceptive stops.
In the case of cervical cancer, women who have consumed oral contraceptives for more than 5 years have a greater risk of getting affected by cancer. It is one of the neglected causes of cancer. The risk of cervical cancer increases by 10% when a woman consumed oral contraceptives for 5 years and by 60% if she consumes it for more than 8 years. The risk factor constantly increases with the increase in the use of oral contraceptives. On the contrary, the risk factor decreases once a woman quits the use of oral contraceptives. If you know someone who is on oral contraceptives for more than 5 years, ask them to stop using it.
Immunosuppression is the process of suppressing the body’s immune system. This is done when a person is going through an organ transplant procedure. The process helps the body to get used to the organ and do not reject it. There are immunosuppressive medications which act as a suppressing agent in the body. The tricky part with such medications is that your immune system is obstructed to perform regular tasks. As a result, the immune system also fails to detect the cancer cells and kill them. In addition to it, the drugs also weaken the immune system up to some extent. This, in turn, allows cancer cells as well as other infectious disease cells to attack your body.
Immunosuppression is one of the biggest cancer risk factors in the US. This is due to the greater amount of organ transplant surgeries. Patients who went through organ transplant procedures have reported various types of cancer diseases as well. Organ transplant leads to four common types of cancer, which are liver, kidney, lungs, and NHL or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer. A virus that is popular by the name EBV or Epstein-Barr virus is the common cause of NHL. Apart from cancer, HIV is also a common disease caused due to Immunosuppression.
3. Infectious Agents
A lot of infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc can also cause cancer. This is another root cause of cancer. Infections if not treated well at the right time with the right medication then they might become the most lethal cancer risk factors. Growth of infection can lead to various kinds of diseases among which cancer is a common one. When a normal human body is affected by an infection, the overall immune system becomes weak. Under such conditions, the body has a higher risk of developing life-threatening diseases. These viruses can come from various sources such as blood, body fluids, etc. The safer way to keep these infectious agents away from your body is through regular vaccination, practicing safe sex, using fresh needles, blades, etc.
4. Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)
Epstein Barr Virus or EBV is a herpes form of virus which causes cancer and lymphoma of the throat and nose. It also causes mononucleosis and is transmitted through saliva, body fluid, organ transplant, and blood transfusion. It is tough to get rid of EBV as it is a lifelong disease-causing virus. EBV has little symptoms and this is why most cases are still undetected. It is only detected when a person tests for some serious disease. Under the current scenario, there are no medications or vaccines for the EBV virus.
5. Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCPyV)
Merkel Cell Polyomavirus generally leads to a rare skin cancer type called Merkel Cell Carcinoma. The virus spreads through touch which means, if you come in contact with an infected person, you might also get infected. In addition to this, the virus spreads from the surface too. For instance, if an infected person touched a glass and you touched the same glass, you might just be allowed the virus to get into your body. Just like EBV, this virus has no vaccines, medication or cure. There are no symptoms as well to detect the virus. The risk of getting affected by this virus is higher when you are an HIV patient or going through the Immunosuppression procedure.
A very rare cancer condition is caused by this parasite. It is a type of flatworm found in South East Asian countries. The rare cancer condition caused by this parasite is called cholangiocarcinoma or bile duct cancer. The larvae of this parasite are generally found in freshwater fishes. Consumption of undercook or raw flesh can lead to the growth of this parasite in the human body. The infection is treatable if detected at the right time with anti-parasitic medications.
Another rare cancer-causing parasite is Schistosoma Hematobium which can be found in the Middle East and Africa. This is also a flatworm kind of parasite which is generally found in snails. When this parasite gets access to the human body, it can cause bladder cancer. You can get affected by this parasite if you come in contact with contaminated freshwater. The parasite penetrates into the skin smoothly with ease. The only way to treat this infection is through anti-parasitic medications.
Your health is your biggest asset. Cancer is like the most harmful disease which can cause life-threatening conditions. To stay safe and healthy, you must consider the above-mentions risk factors and act accordingly. If you ever experience any symptom, consult your doctor. Further, try to avoid the risk factors as much as possible to lead a happy life.
Writing allows me to pour my heart out in words. So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 6 years. I strive to bring in a change in the world by taking tiny steps of curating the right message that needs to be conveyed.