The second-leading cause of death in the US, cancer develops in over 18.1 million people globally each year. The unrestrained growth of cancer cases is attributed to a variety of causes, and here are the most common causes of cancer you should watch out for.
Smoking is the leading cause of cancer in the world. Cigarettes release over 70 harmful chemicals that can cause at least 15 different types of cancer, including lung cancer. There isn't a safe level of smoking, so avoid tobacco completely for your health.
Overweight and obesity is the second biggest cause of cancer after smoking, and at least 5% of cancer cases are associated with excess weight. The more weight you gain, the higher your cancer risk. So keep a healthy weight, and the risk of 13 types of cancer can be lowered.
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer, one of the most common cancers in humans. In the UK, around 90% of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented if you enjoy the sun safely.
What you eat heavily affects your health. Unhealthy diets, such as processed meats, fried foods, and canned tomatoes, are linked to many types of cancer. And eating healthy foods could prevent about 1 in 20 cancers in England.
Being inactive boosts the chance of developing cancer, too. Thousands of bowel cancer cases could be prevented if people were more active. So whether it's walking, jogging, or taking the stairs, the more active you are, the lower your risk of cancer.
Alcohol can lead to 7 different types of cancer, including those of breast, mouth, and bowel. The more alcohol you consume, the higher your cancer risk. For your health, cut down on alcohol whatever your drinking habits.
Viral and bacterial infections are also associated with certain types of cancer. For instance, the hepatitis virus can lead to liver cancer; Helicobacter pylori can cause stomach cancer; the HPV virus can result in cervical cancer.
Excessive exposure to certain environmental factors, such as various sources of radiation like X-rays, harmful gases like formaldehyde and radon, and chemicals like pesticides, asbestos, and benzene, can also lead to certain cancers.
Some people have inherited faulty or mutated genes that raise their risk of developing certain cancers. Overall, around 7% of cancers are genetically inherited. One such genetic factor is the BRCA genes that can lead to breast and ovarian cancer.
Though cancer can develop at any age, it's much more common in the older, and nearly 90% of cancer cases are in people over 50. That's because as we age, damages in our cells build up, and as a result, cancer risk rises.