All over the world, oncological pathologies firmly hold one of the first places among the causes of death of the population. And although medicine has made impressive progress in recent years, the prevention of malignant tumors remains the most important task. In order to effectively reduce the risk of cancer, it is necessary to understand exactly why it occurs.
- What are the causes of cancer?
- Exogenous factors
- Endogenous factors
- Biological features of the body
- Precancerous diseases
- How to reduce the risk of cancer?
- Cancer diagnostics at the SM-Clinic Cancer Center
What are the causes of cancer?
Speaking of cancerous tumors, it is necessary to clearly distinguish between the immediate cause of their appearance and risk factors. The latter can be the impetus for the onset of the disease.
According to the molecular genetic theory of malignant neoplasms, the emergence and growth of a tumor are associated with damage to the genetic material of cells. It occurs under the influence of a variety of factors, which are combined under the name of carcinogenic agents. As a result, cells that have abnormalities in their DNA acquire the ability to multiply uncontrollably, form a tumor, and spread through metastases.
Science assigns the main role among the causes of the appearance of tumors to damage to the p53 gene. Normally, it limits the ability of cells to reproduce and prevents them from growing uncontrollably. In addition, some researchers report that the formation of a number of oncopathologies with a hereditary predisposition may be associated with disturbances in the structure of the p15 and p16 genes.
So, genetic mutations are the cause of cancer. But what causes our cells to mutate? All those effects that cause damage to the gene material are classified as cancer risk factors. Scientists identify many such factors, but indicate that in most cases the tumor occurs with the combined influence of several of them at once. Traditionally, factors are usually divided into exogenous (arising from the external environment) and endogenous (arising inside the human body).
They are divided into physical, chemical and biological.
- Solar ultraviolet The
ultraviolet radiation of the sun has long been recognized as one of the most significant factors for the appearance of neoplasms. UV rays passing through DNA molecules damage their genetic structure. This causes mutations in the genes that are responsible for the suppression of tumor cell growth.
- Ionizing radiation
This risk factor is predominantly of artificial, technogenic origin. Radiation can lead to the development of many types of tumors, since it has a pronounced damaging effect on the gene structure of cells. Constant occupational exposure to radiation or a single strong exposure to it increases the risk of developing cancer by 2-3 times.
- Electromagnetic fields
Medicine has long known that constant exposure to intense electromagnetic radiation adversely affects human health. This is usually associated with his professional activities. So, according to some studies, people working in the field of telecommunications suffer from cancer one and a half times more often.
- Fluorescent illumination
The importance of fluorescent light sources in the development of malignant tumors is questioned by many scientists. But a specially conducted study speaks in favor of this cause of cancer. It confirmed the high incidence of oncopathology in people who worked for a long time (20 years or more) in rooms with sources of intense fluorescent light.
- Chronic tissue injury
Injury (especially permanent) carries the likelihood of cancer cells. Melanoma is a good example here – this form of skin cancer is more likely to occur in places that are subject to friction, such as uncomfortable clothing.
The impact of this group of factors is more often observed in people who, by the nature of their activities, are in constant contact with aggressive chemicals. These “dangerous” professions include:
- petrochemical production;
- production of nitric acid;
- production of rubber products;
- work in a coal mine;
- production of polyvinyl chloride and other plastics;
- production of benzene and pesticides.
In addition, according to the type of impact, poor environmental conditions can also be attributed to the chemical causes of oncology. Gas pollution from automobile exhausts, emissions from large industrial production, pollution of water, air and soil by carcinogenic substances is the most important risk factor for developing cancer.
- Features of the diet
Experimentally confirmed information that sufficient consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables containing many vitamins (in particular, A, E and C), reduces the risk of cancer. Conversely, there is evidence that a diet high in animal fats and proteins increases the incidence of tumors.
- Bad habits The
use of alcoholic beverages can be considered as a special case of an unhealthy diet. It is known that ethanol can provoke the formation of at least 10 types of malignant neoplasms. First of all, these are cancerous tumors of the digestive system: the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines.
Cigarette smoking is not a dietary disorder, but the habit is traditionally mentioned along with drinking. The oncological danger of tar, soot and other products of tobacco combustion is a long-established fact and is not in doubt among doctors all over the world. Lung cancer is one of the most common oncological diseases, it is also one of the leaders in the number of deaths. And more than 90% of cases of this pathology are associated with smoking.
- Viral infections
An increased risk of developing malignant tumors is directly related to infection with certain types of viruses. Among them, the rubella virus and the human papillomavirus of various types should be especially noted.
- Pharmacological preparations
Of the drugs, hormonal preparations containing estrogen are most likely to cause cancer. This group includes many popular contraceptives (oral contraceptives) and drugs that are prescribed for menstrual irregularities and to smooth out menopausal disorders. It is important to note that these drugs become a risk factor only with their uncontrolled use and non-compliance with medical recommendations.
All risk factors that arise in the patient’s body can be divided into two broad categories. The first includes various anatomical and physiological features of a person. The second category includes tissue changes that can become a precursor to a malignant process.
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