There remains much debate as to what exactly causes cancer. The answer is that cancer is a result of a number of different factors that influence its appearance in human beings. Of the 200 known varieties of cancer, there are a number of possible causes that generally can be found across the board.
- Carcinogens, as the name implies, are substances that are known to cause cancer, or at least increase the risk for developing it. An example of a well-publicized carcinogen is the cigarette smoke that we inhale, due to the chemical composition of most modern cigarettes.
- Age is also a big factor for being at risk for cancer. As we get older, we become more at risk for cancer since our cells have had all this time to develop into cancer cells. What causes these normal, healthy cells to mutate into cancer cells? There may have been a sudden change in the cell’s composition or genetic makeup while it was dividing, resulting in a mutation.
- Also, the introduction of a carcinogen into the body while the cells are dividing can cause it to develop into a cancer cell. On the subject of mutations, there are certain people who are genetically more inclined towards cell mutation, and they are at higher risk for cancer. These people are termed as being genetically predisposed toward cancer, although it is not a hundred percent certain that they will develop cancer at some point in their lives, they definitely have higher chances of developing a form of cancer as they eventually age.
- People who have a history of problems with their immune system are also more susceptible to cancer. Having a problem with your immune system means that your body is not equipped to protect itself from infections and other diseases. People who have HIV, or are taking drugs to halt the immune system since they have had an organ transplant previously and those who are born with immune system problems are also at risk for cancer.
- Another possible cause of cancer is the lifestyle that you live. Research has shown the maintaining a healthy body weight, eating healthy and in the right proportions and getting the right amount of exercise all contribute heavily toward increasing the survival rate of cancer patients, and can possibly prevent the cancer altogether.
- A diet of purely processed food can increase your risk for developing cancer, as well as excessive and regular alcohol consumption. In fact, your daily living environment can contribute to the development of cancer, if your lifestyle exposes you to carcinogens on a regular basis. Living in an area where carcinogens such as cigarette smoke, asbestos, too much sun or radiation are present can also increase the chances that you will develop cancer.
- Certain viruses can also contribute to developing cancer. While the cancer is not an infection per se, meaning it can’t be “caught” like a cold, the viral infection can stimulate genetic changes in your body on a cellular level. If these changes do occur, there is the possibility that the altered cells can then become cancer cells altogether.