Five Habits That Cause Cancer


Cancer or neoplasia involves an abnormally rapid growth of cells forming masses that may metastasize from the primary site of origin to other organs. Cancer causes eight million deaths annually and affects one in six individuals. The following destructive habits raise the risk of tumor growth in the body: –

1. Smoking.
Tobacco use is known to cause twenty-two percent of cancer deaths. Tobacco smoke contains more than seventy different carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals).  Smokers are more prone to cancers of the lungs, kidneys, larynx, head and neck. Moreover, cancer of the esophagus, stomach cancer and bladder cancer are known to be more prevalent among chain smokers. The risk of suffering from lung cancer escalates with the number of years of smoking and the number of cigarettes smoked per day. A study conducted over a period of twenty years revealed that lung cancer deaths mirrored the pattern of cigarette consumption in both males and females.

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2. Physical inactivity and unhealthy diet.
Obesity resulting from lack of exercise and poor dietary habits constitutes about thirty-five percent of cancer deaths worldwide. A study in 2011 revealed that excessive calorie consumption and accumulation of visceral fat is known to cause progression of cancer. Eating a lot of processed food containing trace amounts of carcinogens leads to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate and pancreatic cancers. Excessive sodium in the diet may lead to stomach cancer, according to oncologists in Japan. Research suggests that incorporating more fruits and vegetable greatly reduces the risk of developing upper gastrointestinal tract tumors whereas whole-grain foods cause a decline in the risk of colorectal and liver carcinomas.

3. Overconsumption of alcohol.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorizes alcohol as a major carcinogen, which leads to cancer of the liver, oral cavity and pancreas. It also raises strogen levels, causing breast cancer. While the liver chemically breaks down ethanol, it produces acetaldehyde, which causes gene defect and enhances the risk of neoplasia in the gastrointestinal tract. Alcohol also plays a major role as a solvent for tobacco carcinogens and also stimulates the production of reactive oxygen species which cause DNA damage in the body’s cell. An alteration in DNA structure or cell mutation is the beginning mechanism of neoplasm formation.

4. Exposure to radiation.
Ultraviolet radiation and radioactive elements are destructive mutagens or mutation-causing agents. Sources of non-ionizing radiation include radio waves from mobile phones, electric power transmission and electronic gadgets, which have been characterized as potential carcinogens by the World Health Organization. Data collected in 2015 suggested that individuals exposed to radiation have a greater risk of cancer prevalence, particularly leukemia or blood cancer. Radiation penetrates cells and breaks down molecules to form highly reactive free radicals, which not only damage chromosome structure but also form lesions within DNA strands. This triggers cancer. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation from the sunlight has been linked to skin cancers such as melanomas.

5. Exposure to physical agents.
Physical agents present in air, food and every-day products we use consist of trace amounts of carcinogens which can induce cancer growth over long periods of exposure. Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral used in cement and wall insulation, is a major cause of mesotheliomas (cancer of the serous membrane surrounding the organs, specially lungs.) Furthermore, cobalt, nickel, and crystalline silica are known to cause several kinds of carcinomas when inhaled or exposed via the skin. It has been estimated that carcinogens in contaminated air such as silica dust and smoke lead to over twenty thousand deaths from lung tumor in 2012.

Avoid these habits today for a cancer-free tomorrow.

Until Next Time,

Team Doctor ASKY!


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