Most people don't realize that cancers are preventable in many cases. Each cancer is thought to first start from one abnormal cell. What seems to happen is that certain vital genes which control how cells divide and multiply are damaged or altered. This makes the cell abnormal. We all have a risk of developing cancer. Many cancers seem to develop for no apparent reason. However, certain risk factors are known to increase the chance that one or more of your cells will become abnormal and lead to cancer.
Cancer is ultimately the result of cells that uncontrollably grow and do not die. Normal cells in the body follow an orderly path of growth, division and death. Unlike regular cells, cancer cells do not experience programmatic death and instead continue to grow and divide. This leads to a mass of abnormal cells that grows out of control.
Tumors form can be more dangerous, when two things occur:
1. A cancerous cell manages to move throughout the body using the blood or lymph systems, destroying healthy tissue in a process called invasion.
2. Cell of cancer manages to divide and grow, making new blood vessels to feed itself in a process called angiogenesis.
When a tumor successfully spreads to other parts of the body and grows, invading and destroying other healthy tissues, it is said to have metastasized. This process itself is called metastasis and the result is a serious condition that is very difficult to treat the cancer.
Many cancer risk factors can be avoided. Risk factors of cancer include the following:
1. Tobacco smoke. If you smoke, you are more likely to develop cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, oesophagus, bladder and pancreas. Smoking is thought to cause about a quarter of all cancers.
2. Some cancers have a strong genetic link. When cancer is genetic, a mutated gene has been passed down. Keep in mind, if you have a family history of cancer, it does not mean you will develop it. You only have a greater chance of developing it.
3. Practicing unsafe sex can increase your risk of developing a virus called HPV. HPV is a group of over 100 viruses, medically known as human papillioma virus. HPV increases your risk factor for cervical, anal, vulvar and vaginal cancer.
4. Lifestyle factors may increase or decrease the risk of developing cancer. Eating too much fatty food possibly increases the risk of developing certain cancers. The risk of developing certain cancers is increased by obesity, lack of regular exercise, and drinking a lot of alcohol.
5. Immune system. People with a poor immune system have an increased risk of developing certain cancers.
6. The older you become, the more likely that you will develop a cancer. This is probably due to an accumulation of damage to cells in the body over time. The body's defences and resistance against abnormal cells may become less good as you become older.
Not everybody who comes into contact with a carcinogen or has an unhealthy lifestyle will develop cancer. The body has certain mechanisms which may protect us from developing cancer. Also, the body's immune system may be able to destroy some types of abnormal cells before they multiply into a tumour.
If you are looking for a great way to get started, head over to Cancer Truth and take a closer look at what happens when you have cancer and what you can do about it!