Cancer is a life-changing and often deadly diagnosis, with more than 1.7 million new cases in the United States yearly. Knowing what causes cancer may be crucial to prevention techniques; however, understanding its causation remains elusive due to complex environmental factors and unknown influences on genetic predisposition. Let’s explore the many potential causes of cancer, including lifestyle choices, environmental exposure, genetics, and more, and cancer prevention tips for reducing your risk through preventive measures.
What Are Some Causes of Cancer?
Cancer is a devastating disease that affects millions of people worldwide, and the causes of cancer are varied and complex:
Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of cancer worldwide. Smoking cigarettes or using other forms of tobacco can increase a person’s risk of developing lung, throat, and stomach cancer. In addition to smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke can also increase a person’s risk of developing cancer.
Excessive sun exposure is another major cause of skin cancer. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds can damage the skin and increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma and other types of skin cancer.
An unhealthy diet can also increase a person’s risk for certain cancers, such as colorectal and pancreatic cancer. Eating processed meats, like hot dogs and bacon, regularly has been linked to an increased risk for colorectal cancer, while diets high in red meat have been linked to an increased risk for pancreatic cancer.
Drinking alcohol regularly has been linked to an increased risk for certain cancers, including breast and liver cancer. The more alcohol routinely consumed, the greater the risk of developing these cancers.
Infections caused by certain viruses or bacteria have been linked to an increased risk for certain types of cancers, such as cervical and liver cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) are all examples of infections that have been linked to an increased risk for various types of cancers if left untreated over time.
Exposure to environmental pollutants such as air pollution or industrial chemicals has also been linked to an increased risk for certain types of cancers, such as lung and bladder cancer. This is due to their ability to cause DNA damage over time if inhaled at high levels or over long periods without proper protection from respirators when working with hazardous chemicals in industrial settings.
Having family members with certain types of cancers may also increase your risks. Genetics plays a significant role in many types of cancer, and inheriting certain gene mutations can make an individual more susceptible to developing the disease.
Stressful lifestyle factors such as chronic stress, lack of sleep, poor coping skills, and substance abuse have all been linked with increasing risks associated with developing various types of cancer.
What Are Some Tips to Help You Prevent Cancer?
Cancer prevention is a complex and multifaceted topic, with many factors contributing to the development of the disease. While there are steps you can take to lower your risk of cancer, it’s important to remember that these tips cannot guarantee complete prevention. Here are some cancer prevention tips to help optimize your health:
Regular physical activity can help to reduce your risk of cancer. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity daily, such as walking or jogging.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet can also help to reduce your risk of cancer. Aim to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your diet. Avoid processed foods and foods that are high in sugar and saturated fat. Additionally, limit your alcohol consumption, as excessive drinking has been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
Avoid Tobacco Use
If you currently smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products, quitting as soon as possible is essential to reduce your risk of developing cancer. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about available resources and support groups that can help you quit for good.
Get Regular Checkups
Getting regular checkups with a healthcare provider can help detect cancer early when it is most treatable. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate screening tests for your age and gender, such as mammograms or Pap smears for women or prostate exams for men over 50. Additionally, be sure to report any changes in your health, such as unusual lumps or sores, right away so that they can be evaluated by a medical professional promptly.
Protect Your Skin From the Sun
Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats when outside and apply sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 or higher every two hours outdoors, even on cloudy days. Additionally, avoid tanning beds, which emit UV radiation that can significantly increase your risk of skin cancer if used often enough.
Limit Your Exposure to Environmental Pollutants
Environmental pollutants are known or suspected to cause cancer in humans, so it is essential to limit exposure whenever possible.
Reduce Stress Levels
Find ways to manage stress levels by engaging in yoga, mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing, relaxation techniques, art therapy journaling, nature listening, or listening to music.
Develop an Integrated Oncology Plan With Us in Knoxville, TN
Knox Wellness in Knoxville, TN, is dedicated to helping patients take control of their cancer treatment. We are composed of professional, knowledgeable, and supportive individuals here to provide integrative support services for cancer treatment. We understand that every individual is unique and requires personalized care, so we offer a broad range of additional supportive therapies. From acupuncture to nutritional counseling, our services are tailored to meet your needs and help maintain overall wellness.