Top 10 Causes of Cancer

Cancer is a condition developed in the human body in which some cells grow out of control and spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer can begin in any of the billions of cells that make up the one Homo sapiens. Human cells normally divide and multiply to generate new cells as needed by the body. When cells become too old or damaged to function, they die and are replaced by new ones.

This ordered process sometimes can break down, resulting in abnormal or damaged cells growing and multiplying when they should not. These cells can grow into tumors, which are tissue lumps. Tumors can be benign or cancerous (benign).

Cancerous tumors can attack nearby healthy tissues and spread to other parts of the body, resulting in the formation of new tumors (a process called metastasis). Malignant tumors are another name for cancerous tumors. Many cancers form solid tumors, but leukemia such as cancers of the blood, generally do not.

Benign tumors do not penetrate or spread into surrounding tissues. Benign tumors rarely reappear after being removed, although malignant tumors do every so often. However, benign tumors can grow to be extremely enormous. Some, such as benign brain tumors, can produce serious symptoms or even be lethal.

Also, listen to Podcast on Cancer Prevention

Risk Factors For Cancer

It is difficult to identify why one individual develops cancer while another does not. Certain risk factors, however, have been demonstrated to raise a person’s chances of growing cancer in research studies. There are other factors associated with reduced cancer risk. Sometimes these are referred to as protective risk factors or simply protective factors.

Chemical or other substance exposure, as well as certain behaviors, are all cancer risk factors. They also include factors that people have no control over, such as age and family history. A family history of some malignancies may indicate the presence of an inherited cancer syndrome.

The majority of cancer risk factors are first discovered in epidemiological studies. Scientists examine wide groups of people in these investigations and compare those who acquire cancer to those who do not. These studies may reveal that persons who acquire cancer are more or less likely than those who do not develop cancer to behave in specific ways or be exposed to certain substances.

Causes of Cancer

The following is a list of the most well-studied known or suspected cancer risk factors. While some of these risk factors, such as getting older, maybe avoided, others cannot. Limiting your exposure to preventable risk factors may help you avoid some tumors.

 Obesity: Obese people are more likely to develop cancers of the breast (in women who have gone through menopause), colon, rectum, endometrium (uterine lining), esophagus, kidney, pancreas, and gallbladder. Consuming a good diet, being physically active, and maintaining a healthy weight, on the other hand, may help minimize the risk of certain cancers. Other disorders, such as heart disease, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure, can be reduced by adopting these good habits.

Any cancer treatment can be employed as the first line of defense, however, surgery is the most common initial cancer treatment for the most prevalent cancers.

Tobacco: The usage of tobacco is a major cause of cancer and cancer-related mortality. Because tobacco products and passive smoking include many chemicals that disrupt DNA, those who use tobacco products or are regularly exposed to ambient tobacco smoke (also known as secondhand smoke) have a higher risk of cancer.

Tobacco use causes lung cancer, tracheal cancer, mouth cancer, esophageal cancer, throat cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, pancreas cancer, colon and rectum cancer, and cervical cancer, as well as acute myeloid leukemia. Smokeless tobacco users (snuff or chewing tobacco) had a higher risk of mouth, esophageal, and pancreatic cancers.

There can be no such claim as a “safe cigarette consumption level”. People who use tobacco products of any kind are actively encouraged to quit. People who quit smoking, regardless of age, have a much longer life expectancy than those who continue to smoke. Smoking cessation at the time of a cancer diagnosis also lowers the risk of mortality. 

Alcohol Consumption:  Consuming excess alcohol increases your chances of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, larynx (voice box), liver, and breast cancer. The more you drink, the higher your risk. Those who drink alcohol and smoke tobacco have a substantially increased risk of cancer.

According to doctors, people who drink should do it in moderation. According to, the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Certain components of red wine, such as resveratrol, have been claimed to have anti-cancer characteristics. There is no evidence, however, that consuming red wine lowers the risk of cancer.

Chronic Inflammation: Inflammation is a normal physiological reaction that assists in the healing of wounded tissue. When damaged tissue releases chemicals, the inflammatory process begins. White blood cells respond by producing chemicals that cause cells to divide and increase in order to help repair the harm. The inflammatory process will be over once the wound is healed.

The inflammatory process in chronic inflammation can start even if there is no injury, and it does not terminate when it should. It is not always clear why the inflammation persists. Infections that do not go away, adverse immune reactions to normal tissues, and factors like obesity can all induce chronic inflammation. The inflammatory response can damage the DNA and can eventually lead to cancer. People with chronic inflammatory intestinal disorders like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are more likely to develop colon cancer. 

Age Factor: The major risk factor for cancer in general, as well as for many specific cancer types, is growing older. Overall, cancer incidence rates rise consistently with age, from fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people in age groups under 20 to around 350 cases per 100,000 people in age groups 45–49, and more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 people in age groups 60 and older.

According to most recent statistical research data, the typical age of a cancer diagnosis is 66 years. This means that half of the cancer cases occur in those under the age of 50years, and the other half in people over 50 years. Many common cancer types adopt a similar pattern. Breast cancer, for example, has a median age of 62 years at diagnosis, while colorectal cancer has a median age of 67 years, lung cancer has a median age of 71 years, and prostate cancer has a typical age of 66 years.

Radiation: Ionizing radiation is a type of radiation that has enough energy to damage DNA and cause cancer. Radon, x-rays, gamma rays, and other high-energy radiation are examples of ionizing radiation. People have not been found to get cancer from lower-energy, non-ionizing kinds of radiation, such as visible light and the energy from cell phones.

X-rays, gamma rays, alpha particles, beta particles, and neutrons are examples of high-energy radiation that can damage DNA and cause cancer. These types of radiation can be emitted in nuclear power plant accidents as well as during the development, testing, and use of atomic weapons. 

Chest x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, and radiation therapy are all examples of medical procedures that might damage cells and lead to cancer. However, the chances of developing cancer as a result of these medical treatments are extremely low. Whereas the benefits always exceed the hazards, various ionizing radiations such as alpha, beta, and gamma rays are performed to treat various types of tumors in optimal conditions.

Infectious Agents:  Viruses, bacteria, and parasites, among other infectious agents, can cause cancer or raise the risk of cancer development. Some viruses can interfere with the signaling that regulates cell growth and proliferation. Furthermore, some infections compromise the immune system, leaving the system susceptible to other cancer-causing diseases. Chronic inflammation, which can lead to cancer, is also caused by some viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

 The majority of viruses associated with an elevated risk of cancer can be transmitted from one person to another via blood and/or other bodily fluids. By getting vaccinated, not having sexual intercourse, and not sharing needles, you can reduce your risk of infection. 

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome)- The virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is HIV-AIDS. HIV infection does not cause cancer, but it weakens the immune system and makes the body less able to fight off other cancer-causing illnesses. HIV infection increases the risk of several cancers, including Kaposi sarcoma, lymphomas (including non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin disease), and cancers of the cervix, anus, lung, liver, and throat. 

Immunosuppression: Many people who have gone through organ transplants are given drugs to suppress their immune systems so that the organ will not be rejected by the body. These “immunosuppressive” medications weaken the immune system’s ability to detect and destroy cancer cells as well as resist cancer-causing infections. HIV infection affects the immune system and increases the chance of developing certain malignancies.

Transplant recipients have an elevated risk of a variety of malignancies, according to research. Infectious pathogens can cause some of these tumors, but not all of them. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and malignancies of the lung, kidney, and liver are the four most common cancers among transplant patients, and they occur more frequently in these people than in the overall population. NHL is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), whereas liver cancer is caused by chronic hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) virus infection. Cancers of the lungs and kidneys are not known to be linked to infection.

Gene Mutations:   The finding of particular types of genes that play a role in cancer has been a huge step forward in cancer research. Over 90% of tumors are found to contain some form of genetic mutation. Some of these changes are hereditary, while others are random, indicating they happen spontaneously or as a result of exposure to the environment (usually over many years).

Types of Cancer Genes

The following are three primary types of genes that can affect cell development and are altered (mutated) in specific types of cancers:

  1. Tumor Suppressor Genes: These genes can detect improper cell development and reproduction, such as cancer cells, and can stop them from reproducing until the deficiency is repaired.
  2. Oncogenes: The healthy growth of cells is regulated by these genes.
  3. Mismatch-Repaired Genes: When DNA is replicated to produce a new cell, these genes help detect errors. These genes repair the mismatch and rectify the error if the DNA does not “match” precisely.

Cancer-Causing Substances: Changes in specific genes completely change the way our cells mechanism, which causes cancer. When DNA is replicated throughout the cell division process, some of these genetic modifications happen naturally. Others, however, are caused by DNA damage caused by environmental factors. Substances, such as those found in cigarette smoke, or radiation, such as UV rays from the sun, are examples of these types of exposures.

Some cancer-causing exposures, such as cigarette smoke and the sun’s rays, can be avoided. Other toxins, on the other hand, are more difficult to avoid, particularly if they are present in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we consume, or the materials we use in our jobs. Scientists are looking at whether types of exposures may cause or contribute to cancer growth. People may be able to avoid dangerous exposures if they understand what they will be and where they can be found. 

Aflatoxins, Arsenic, Beryllium, Crystalline Silica, Formaldehyde, Nickel-Compounds, Thorium, and Wood Dust are the most likely carcinogens to affect human health.


Many cancers, according to most experts, can be prevented or the chance of getting tumors can be significantly decreased. Some of the ways are straightforward, while others are more extreme, depending on one’s perspective. The simplest strategy for preventing cancer is to avoid its potential causes. Quitting (or better yet, never starting) smoking is at the top of most doctors’ and researchers’ agendas. Many chemicals and poisons, as well as extreme sunlight (by reducing exposure or using sunscreen), are good strategies to avoid cancer. Some malignancies can be avoided by avoiding contact with certain viruses and other infections. People who work in close proximity to cancer-causing agents (chemists, X-ray technicians, ionizing radiation researchers, asbestos workers) should take all necessary safety precautions.


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