October 2020

The word cancer is a broad term used to describe a complex but common group of more than 200 different diseases that can affect just about every organ in the body.

Organs that cancer has a high rate of infection include the lungs, breast, and skin but it also affects other organs like throat, eyes, brain, and so on; each with its causes, symptoms, and methods of treatment.

Causes of cancer

Cancer can affect any type of tissue in the body – and sometimes, is not restricted to a particular tissue alone but can spread over time to other parts of the body.

However, what causes cancer in some cases may not cause cancer in other organs. For example, tobacco smoke is the leading cause of lung cancer but certainly cannot cause skin cancer.

Causes of cancer include:

Genetic make-up

Changes in the DNA structure in a gene can mean serious problems for the entire body.

Such changes or errors are called mutations, and these mutations can be passed down from a parent to an offspring.

That doesn’t mean that all the children will have cancer, but this indicates a predisposition to having cancer. What this means is: their chances of infection are higher.

Immune system

Generally, a weak immune system means the body cannot effectively fight diseases. That goes for cancer too.

A weak immune system is like a ranch house surrounded by skyscrapers, the chances of the house getting a space in the landscape is slim.

Smoking, diet and physical activity

People with lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and unhealthy diet are prone to different types of cancers. Too much red meat and processed food without enough fruits and vegetables increase the risk of cancer.

Excessive alcohol can be responsible for cancer too.


As you age, your body undergoes changes whereby gene mutations and cancerous cells have increased.

The older you get, the more cases of abnormal cell growth there will be. A typical example is prostate cancer which affects men mostly in middle age.

Environmental factors

Believe it or not, even something as pleasurable as a deep suntan can be dangerous. This is because excessive exposure to sunlight can cause melanoma which is a form of skin cancer.

Exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun and radiation made by men are very well-known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).

Cancer can be prevented in simple ways and also, sometimes, with the use of new surgical means.

Knowledge is the core of cancer prevention, that is: knowing the causes and the risk factors.

Medically, breakthroughs in gene mapping are allowing doctors to identify cancer-causing genes and those studies will no doubt lead to better ways of eliminating the genetic factors that increase predisposition to cancer.




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