What Are the Risk Factors in Cancer?

what are the risk factors in cancer
what are the risk factors in cancer

Cancer, the most important health problem of our age, continues to increase all over the world. By being conscious of cancer, it is possible to avoid cancer-causing risk factors, to prevent cancer with early diagnosis and early treatment.



Biruni University Hospital Medical Oncology Specialist Prof. Dr. Neşe Güney shared up-to-date data on cancer and gave information about cancer prevention methods on the occasion of February 4, World Cancer Day.

“There were 2015 million cancer-related deaths in the world in 8,8. In 2020, a total of 1,8 million new cancer cases developed and 606 thousand cancer-related deaths occurred.

In 2030, it is predicted that there will be 27 million new cases, 17 million deaths and 75 million living cancer patients. If the rate of cancer growth continues at this rate, new cancer cases are expected to increase by 70% in twenty years due to the increase in the world population and the aging of the population.

Lung cancer ranks first in cancer-related deaths

It has been observed that approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low and middle income countries. The most common types of cancer in men are lung cancer, prostate cancer colorectal cancers, while women are breast cancer, colorectal cancers, cervical cancer and lung cancer. Lung cancer ranks first in cancer related deaths.

Cancer formation is largely due to preventable causes

Cancer is a fatal disease with an increasing incidence especially in developing countries and despite all medical developments. In addition, the disease itself and treatment approaches impair the quality of life of patients. Moreover, treatment methods are very expensive. However, the most effective, inexpensive and least toxic method is cancer prevention.

Cancer control includes a wide spectrum starting with prevention (primary prevention) and screening-early diagnosis (secondary prevention), ending with patient care (tertiary prevention) after cancer diagnosis and in the terminal period.





About 90 percent of cancers are due to potentially controllable causes, such as lifestyle and environmental factors.

Cancer prevention is possible by avoiding factors that are thought to cause cancer, minimizing interaction with them and preventing pre-cancerous lesions from becoming cancerous.

Important risk factors in cancer development

Tobacco use: Smoking alone is the most important cause of cancer in the world. Currently, one person dies every 10 seconds from a tobacco-related disease in the world. The relationship between tobacco and cancer has been known for many years, but it has been definitively proven by epidemiological studies and subsequent biological data in recent years. There are more than 250 harmful chemical and carcinogen derivatives in tobacco and its smoke. It is known that the risk increases in direct proportion to the starting age of smoking, the amount and duration of cigarettes smoked. Apart from smoking, smoking pipes, cigars or chewing tobacco and snuffing also increase the risk. In addition, it has been shown that the risk of exposure to cigarette smoke for a long time in closed areas, which is defined as passive smoking today, is also increased. Major cancers with proven relationship to tobacco are lung, larynx, other head and neck cancers, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, gall bladder, cervix, bladder and kidney malignancies.

Combating tobacco provides a decrease in related deaths, especially cancer. It is necessary to quit smoking early, of course the ideal is not to smoke at all. In addition, it is very important to save the society from passive smoking. In contrast, our other emerging countries and in Turkey is increasing the use of cigarettes or can not sufficiently be reduced.

Nutrition and diet: Nutrition and diet are responsible for approximately 35% of cancer-related deaths. The most important of these is obesity. Due to the relationship between calories and cancer, excess calorie intake increases the risk of cancer. Likewise, obesity in infancy and early childhood can increase the risk of cancer in adulthood.

Cancers thought to be associated with obesity are breast, endometrium and kidney malignancies.

Reproductive functions: A relationship was found between these and some cancers. It is responsible for 7% of cancer-related deaths. Early menarche, late menopause, late first birth or no birth increase the risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer.





Geophysical factors: Ultraviolet rays and ionizing radiation are associated with up to 3% of cancer-related deaths. Skin cancers (squamous cell, basal cell cancers and malignant melanoma) and ultraviolet; Etiological relationships between radiation and many tumors are known, particularly thyroid cancer, leukemia and lymphomas. Protection from sunlight and measures to be taken against radiation are well defined and applied.

Environmental factors:  Carcinogens such as asbestos, radon, nickel and uranium are responsible for 4% of cancer-related deaths. It plays a role in the development of many cancers, especially lung cancer, pleural mesothelioma and skin cancer. However, the increasing use of computed tomography in recent years increases the radiation exposure and cancer risk in patients. The relationship between microwave and magnetic physical factors and cancer risk has not been fully elucidated.

8 basic rules in cancer prevention

In the fight against increasing cancer all over the world, the aim is to ensure that fewer people get cancer, more people are successfully treated, and a better quality of life for people during and after treatment. However, it should not be forgotten that the most effective method in preventing cancer is prevention. 8 basic rules to prevent cancer:

  1. Do not smoke, do not smoke
  2. Exercise regularly 3-5 days a week
  3. Maintain your weight control
  4. Consume 4-5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day
  5. Minimize the amount of saturated fat
  6. Reduce the amount of alcohol used
  7. Avoid sunburn and long sun baths
  8. Do not neglect regular checks




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