Cancer is a cell-related disease that forms the category of some of the dreaded terminal diseases. High mortality rates associated with cancer have pushed many researchers to shift attention to the probable causes of the disease. This is because the cost implications of treatment and management of cancer victims are very high. The disease harms the body of the patient as destroyed cells divide at a high speed and form lumps of tissues within the body. This paper explores some of the causes of cancer disease.
Causes of Cancer and Reducing Your Risk
Cancer has been attributed to genetic inheritances, diet, smoking, radiation, and sunlight and ultra-violet radiations among other causes (Bozzone, 2007). Researchers have established that cancer can be caused by genes when cells undergo high-speed growth resulting from DNA mutations (Bozzone, 2007; Jones, 1998). This, in turn, destroys the genes involved in cell division. Cancer can, therefore, be inherited if one’s family members have certain cancerous genetic predispositions.
Debate over the role of inorganic and organic foods in cancer risks has been raging for some time. There are those who have championed for the consumption of organic foods and sanctioned the use of inorganic foods. Those arguing in favor of organic foods have maintained that these foods reduce the risk of being affected by cancer (Jones, 1998). They argue that organic foods are free from pesticides and genetic modifications that are associated with cancer infections. However, those opposing this view claime that there is no study that has indicated that organic foods reduce the risk of cancer infection. However, scores of studies conducted have related the consumption of inorganic food substances to the risk of cancer infection (Bozzone, 2007). The chemicals, hormones, and pesticides used in the production and preservation of some inorganic foods have been linked to different forms of cancer.
The chemicals used in the preservation of animal food products such as meat, hot dogs, and chicken grown through hormonal modifications are likely to expose one to the risk of cancer infection. Bozzone (2007) noted that consumption of excessive red meat renders one vulnerable to cancer infection and should be substituted with natural organic milk with low chemical contents. Inorganic substances are thus suspected to have risky chemicals and ingredients that would make one very vulnerable given their ability to influence one’s genetic cell division and mutations.
Smoking has been associated with the risk of cancer infection. It is rated as the leading cause of cancer infections. Studies have shown that in the UK, for example, one in every four cancer-related deaths is caused by lung cancer (Jones, 1998). Smoking has been associated with four out of five cases of lung cancer. For example, this habit increases the risk of infection with other forms of cancer such as the cancer of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, nose and sinuses, and esophagus among others. Most cases of lung cancer, for instance, have been linked to cigarette smoking with a significant 90% of all cases of lung cancer being associated with tobacco smoking (Colditz & Hunter, 2000). The risk of lung cancer is, therefore, directly proportional to the number of packets of cigarettes a person smokes and the number of years during which such smoking has been taking place (Jones, 1998).
Many people are ignorant of the risks associated with sun’s rays that make us feel sweet. The sweet and warm experience is only short-lived. The color of the skin that results from the over-exposure to sun’s rays accelerates the aging process and makes one very vulnerable to skin cancer. Jones (1998) established that continued exposure to the sun’s rays leads to gradual destruction of the elastin fibers in the skin. This is due to the ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. Gradual depletion and eventual breakdown of this elastin fiber in the skin makes it sag, stretch, and lose its ability to return to its normal place after the stretch (Colditz & Hunter, 2000). The ultraviolet light from the sun thus limits the immunity of the skin and exposes one to cancerous infections such as benign tumors and elastocis. Thus the ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer in all ages. Colditz and Hunter (2000) noted that the DNA that is carried in the skin cells is destroyed by the radiation from the sun, a process that can take place for several years before skin cancer develops. Over-exposure to the ultraviolet radiations from the sun thus renders one very vulnerable to the risks associated with skin cancer.
Different forms of radiation have been linked to cancer infections. Some forms of radiation include x-rays, gamma rays, infrared rays, microwaves, and radio-frequencies among others (Colditz & Hunter, 2000). These radiations have the ability to destroy the DNA in the cells and, consequently, make one vulnerable to cancer infections. The radiations alter the cell mutation sequence and kill genetic cells or alter their contents. Jones (1998) noted that when the cell is penetrated by these waves and radiations, the destruction is equivalent to the amount of dosage received; the consequence is a very high risk of altered cell division that can easily become cancerous.
The rate of cancer-related mortality is raising all over the world. This has become a concern for stakeholders and agencies working in the health sector. The cost of management and treatment of the disease remains very high. Thus, most studies have focused on the preventive measures and interventions against the disease. However, preventive measures must begin with an understanding of the causes of cancer. Some of the causes of cancer include smoking, poor diet, especially the consumption of inorganic foods, ultraviolet sun’s rays, radiations, and genetic predispositions.