Cancer: Factors associated with the disease

There are many factors that combine to cause various types of cancer. These factors usually include genetic, environmental, or physical characteristics of the individual, say leading oncologists at AMRI Hospital, Kolkata.

Childhood cancers often begin in the stem cells that are capable of producing other types of specialized cells that the body needs. A sporadic cell change or mutation is usually the cause of childhood cancer. On the other hand, the type of cell that becomes cancerous in adults is usually an epithelial cell. These epithelial cells line the body cavity and cover body surface. Environmental exposure to these cells over the time may cause cancer.

Here are some risk factors associated with cancer:

Lifestyle factors: Smoking, drinking, consuming high-fat diet, and working with toxic chemicals are some of the factors that may cause cancer. However, these factors are only linked to cancer in adults, as children are mostly not exposed to these lifestyle factors.

Family history: Cancer may be caused by family history and genetic factors. These factors usually play an important role in some childhood cancers. However, it is difficult to ascertain if it happens due to chemical exposure or for other causes.

Genetic disorders: The body’s immune system protects us from infections and diseases. The cells produced by the bone marrow mature and function as part of the immune system. However, one theory suggests that the cells in bone marrow become damaged and create abnormal cells duringreproduction. The cause of the defect in stem cells could be related to an inherited genetic defect or exposure to a virus or toxin.

Exposure to certain viruses: Epstein-Barr virus and the HIV/AIDS virus have been linked to an increased risk of developing certain childhood cancers. The virus possibly alters a cell, which reproduces an altered cell and these altercations become a cancer cell that reproduces more cancerous cells.

Environmental exposure: Childhood cancers are often linked to pesticides, fertilizers and power lines. There is enough evidence of cancer occurring among non-related children in certain neighbourhoods or cities, suggest health practitioners at the Kolkata-based Hospital.

High dose chemotherapy and radiation: Sometimes, children who are exposed to these agents may develop a second malignancy later in life. It is a type of cancer that appears from treatment of a different cancer.

These were some of the common causes or factors that could cause cancer. It is important to understand cancer to prevent it. One may not be able to prevent it completely, but early detection can increase the chances of survival in most of the cases.

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