Risk factors of cancer
Most cancers could take many years to develop. That is why most people diagnosed with cancer are usually 40 years and above. While cancer is more common among older adults, it is not exclusively an adult disease. One can be afflicted with Cancer at any age.
Lifestyle or Habits
Certain lifestyle choices are known to increase the risk of cancer. Smoking, alcohol intake, excessive exposure to the sun, unsafe sex can all lead to cancer.
Only a small section of cancers can be attributed to genetic conditions. If cancer is common in one’s family, it is possible that mutations are being passed from one generation to the other. Keep in mind that having an inherited genetic mutation does not necessarily mean you will get cancer.
Studies have shown that the primary determinants of most cancers are lifestyle factors, such as tobacco, dietary factors, exercise habits, environment carcinogens and infectious agents, rather than inherited genetic factors. In fact, inherited cancer syndromes caused by high penetrance genes transmitted is less than 5% for breast cancer and lesser for most other cancer types except retinoblastoma in children (WHO report).
Some chronic health conditions could lead to cancer. For example some conditions like ulcerative colitis, a type of anaemia called Fanconi could increase the risk of developing certain cancers.
The environment can contain harmful chemicals that can increase one’s risk of developing cancer. Secondhand smoke, exposure to chemicals/ hazardous substances at home or workplace, such as asbestos or benzene, could increase the risk of getting cancer
Beating Cancer with Sustained Treatment
Cancer needs to be treated in a comprehensive manner. If the treatment is discontinued or if there are long interruptions, it makes the treatment inadequate which will let the cancer grow back. Relapsed cancers do not respond well to treatment. They may also be resistant to chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Because of prior side effects of treatment the patient may not tolerate a second course of treatment as well as he did earlier.