Most cancers are caused by changes in the DNA of cells that grow uncontrollably. These changes happen as a result of exposure to radiation or certain chemicals, infections, or other factors.
Cancers caused by these factors are called genetic. The DNA changes that cause them to spread (metastasize) are called mutations.
Cancers caused by environmental factors are called non-genetic. These changes most often occur as a result of exposure to certain chemicals and other toxins.
In some cases, exposure to carcinogens can cause non-genetic cancers, usually in people whose bodies have a genetic mutation.
How do you know if you’re at risk for cancer?
If you’ve been exposed to a carcinogen, you may be at risk for cancer. Exposure to a carcinogen may make you develop a cancer later in life even if you’ve never been exposed to it before.
Some risk factors you can’t control.
You can’t control your age or gender. If you’re older than 60 years of age or have a family history of cancer, you may be at a higher risk for developing cancer.
You can’t control your race, ethnicity, or where you live.
If you’re a woman between the ages of 15 and 44, your risk for stomach cancer may be higher than that of men.
Your risk for cancer may be higher if you’ve eaten a lot of animal fat. Animal fat is high in saturated fatty acids. They cause inflammation in the body, which can increase your risk for some types of cancer.
What can I do to lower my risk?
If you’ve been exposed to a carcinogen, you can take steps to reduce your risk for cancer.
Take steps to lower your risk for cancer
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Drink plenty of fluids, including water, tea, and coffee.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid excessive alcohol use.
- Don’t use recreational drugs.
- Limit your exposure to radiation.
- Use an insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals, such as benzene and formaldehyde.
Talk with your doctor. Let your doctor know if you’ve been exposed to any carcinogens, including the chemicals that can cause non-genetic cancers.
Ask your doctor about the ways you can try to lower your risk for developing cancer. Your doctor may recommend that you:
- Avoid exposure to high temperatures and high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
- Avoid exposure to ionizing radiation.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a mask.
- Reduce stress.
- Get regular physical activity.
- Get a routine check-up.
If you have a family history of cancer, your doctor may also recommend more frequent screening for cancer.
Ask your doctor about the best ways to protect yourself against cancer.
What can I do to treat cancer?
Treatment of cancer often involves a combination of treatments. The treatment of cancer depends on the type of cancer, how quickly it’s growing, and where it’s located.
The goal of treatment is to stop the cancer from spreading and to help the cancer cells to die. Your doctor will discuss with you exactly how your cancer will be treated.
If your cancer is non-genetic, you may receive chemo, radiation, or other treatment to shrink the cancer and kill the cancer cells.
If your cancer is genetic, you may also receive treatments and/or surgery to remove the cancer and/or other parts of the body that have been affected by the cancer.
Your doctor will discuss the best course of treatment for you.
What is a cancer survival rate?
Cancer survival rate is a way of comparing the survival rates of different cancers. It’s based on the number of people who survive a particular type of cancer after they receive a specific treatment.
For example, if 70 percent of people with colon cancer survive, the survival rate for colon cancer is 70 percent.
The survival rate for a type of cancer can be different compared with survival rates for other types of cancer. This is because the survival rate is based on how fast the cancer is growing.
For example, the survival rate for people with pancreatic cancer is much higher than the survival rate for people with colon cancer. This is because the survival rate for pancreatic cancer is higher.
The overall survival rate for a cancer is the percentage of people who were diagnosed with cancer who are still alive after a certain period of time.
For example, the overall survival rate for pancreatic cancer is about 5 percent.
The overall survival rate is based on several factors, including the type of cancer, how fast it’s growing, and where it’s located.
The overall survival rate for colon cancer is about 75 percent. This means that 75 percent of people with colon cancer are still alive 1 year after their initial diagnosis.
How does the stage of cancer affect the survival rate?
The stage of cancer refers to how much the cancer has grown and spread. Your doctor will discuss the stage of your cancer with you.
The stage is based on how much the cancer cells have grown and spread. The stage is divided into:
- Stage 0: The cancer is found in the cells that line the inner lining of the colon, rectum, and anus.
- Stage I: The cancer is found in the inner lining of the colon or rectum, but not in other organs.
- Stage II: The cancer has grown into nearby organs, such as the pancreas.
- Stage III: The cancer has spread outside the colon or rectum.
- Stage IV: The cancer has spread to other areas of the body.
Carcinogens are substances that can cause cancer. They can cause genetic or non-genetic cancers.
Genetic cancers can be caused by exposure to radiation, certain chemicals, or genes passed from parent to child. Exposure to these factors can trigger the mutations that cause these cancers.
Non-genetic cancers can be caused by exposure to carcinogens, such as chemicals, air pollution, and infections. Exposure to these factors can trigger mutations in the DNA of the cells that grow uncontrollably, causing cancer.
Genetic and non-genetic cancers often show similar symptoms and signs.
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