It is without a doubt that cancer has caused many deaths across different countries over the years.
The World Health Organisation reported that cancer was responsible for over 78,800 deaths in Nigeria in 2020, with breast and cervical cancers accounting for the majority of deaths.
But, do we know why? Can we outline the things that cause cancer? It turns out that many of us do not know the causes, and it is one of the first steps to reducing the death rate.
What Causes Cancer?
Any substance that causes cancer is called a CARCINOGEN. According to a WHO study, around one-third of deaths from cancer are due to tobacco use, obesity, alcohol consumption, low fruit, and vegetable intake, and lack of exercise. Heredity may sometimes appear to be the reason for cancer, especially when the same types of cancers run in families.
Other carcinogens include:
- Physical carcinogens like radiation and ultraviolet (UV) light.
- Chemical carcinogens like cigarette smoke, asbestos, alcohol, air pollution, and contaminated food and drinking water.
- Biological carcinogens like viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Just like they say, prevention is better than cure. It’s better to do all we can to prevent the disease than deal with it.
To reduce the risk of developing cancer;
- Abstain from smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and unhealthy foods. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet instead.
- Avoid exposure to poisonous gases and minimize radiation exposure.
- Go for regular medical checkups, as early detection leads to better outcomes.
- Engage in physical activities regularly.
Many experts recommend genetic testing for cancer risk when someone has a personal or family history that suggests an inherited cancer risk condition. The results will provide information that will help guide a person’s future medical care.
Treatment options for cancer depend on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, general health, and preferences. Some of them include:
- Chemotherapy: This involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy: This treatment involves using high-powered energy beams, such as x-rays to kill cancer cells.
- Bone marrow transplant: A bone marrow transplant is used to treat cancer by replacing damaged bone marrow, which provides new stem cells and helps kill cancer cells directly.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy, also known as biological therapy, uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It is possible for cancer to survive unchecked in the body. Immunotherapy can help your immune system detect and attack it.
- Hormone therapy: Some cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer, can be caused by the body’s hormones. Removing those hormones from the body may cause the cancer cells to stop growing.
- Targeted drug therapy: This treatment targets specific abnormalities within cancer cells that allow them to survive.