Last updated on February 27th, 2019,

What Causes Cancer?

Cancer refers to multiple types of diseases that all have the same cause. In short words, cancer occurs when our cells start to grow or behave abnormally. As such, cancer isn’t something you can be infected with, but there are substances, activities and other issues that can promote cancer development. Here, we will give you the answer to what causes cancer question.

Cancer: Basics

The first thing we will have to reveal is why abnormal cell behavior occurs in the body and how it affects us. Each cell in our body has DNA inside that tells it when to divide, how much to grow and when to stop growing. When the DNA is damaged or changed, it will reflect on the cell action within the body. In other words, cells start to act abnormally. This is also known as DNA cell mutation.

Those cells will start to divide and grow without control and they will start affecting just one part of the body. The uncontrolled growth then causes a mass of cells that is known as a tumor or as you may know, cancer. Now you know how cancer is caused.

Every single day millions of our cells are damaged inside, meaning that they start to act cancer cells. Luckily our immune system is able to locate them and destroy them. If it fails, and just one cell is left, it will multiply and start developing a mass that later becomes a tumor.

Gene mutations are causes of cancer

By now you should know that DNA or gene mutations inside a cell will cause cancer. These mutations can turn off the mechanism that will stop the cell growth. When this occurs, our cells will grow much bigger than they should be. A mutation can also cause cells to multiply more than they should or make a cell be unable to detect and correct the gene damage.

In other words, when a gene mutation occurs in the cell, it will become a cancerous cell, which literally means that a person is developing cancer. There are a lot of reasons why gene mutations do occur. However, all of them can be divided into two main categories.

  • Mutations you are born with

One of the major causes of cancer is a gene mutation that affects you from the day you are born. This simply means that you have inherited the damage cell DNA from your parents and you are more likely to develop cancer at some point. This type of gene mutation is common and it depends on your genes, obviously.

  • DNA mutations that occur after birth

Gene mutations can occur after birth as well. If you are a smoker or you are exposed to radiation, the chances are high that you will damage the DNA of your cells and cause a cell mutation. Once that occurs, abnormal cell growth inside a body will start.

All types of cancers are caused in the same way, as you were able to see. Cancer causes, for instance, can be exposure to asbestos and smoking, but all of them trigger the DNA cell mutation. Just because you are born with a DNA cell mutation, it doesn’t mean you will develop cancer. Usually, a second DNA mutation is needed to cause cancer.

Most common risk factors

It is difficult to explain what actually causes cancer and most doctors agree on this fact. However, they all know that some risk factors can increase the risk of cancer and they are commonly known as cancer factors.  They are:

  • Bad habits

What are the main causes of cancer? The best answer is usually linked to your habits. If you are exposed to the sun for a longer period of time, without protection, you consume more than 1 alcohol beverage per day and you smoke, you have higher chances of developing cancer. Unsafe sex is also known to cause cancer and it can speed its development.

  • Inherited genes

Some people have been never exposed to a substance that cause cancer but they still suffered from the disease. This is possible due to family history. If cancer is common or better said, it has been common in your family, you will have to perform a gene test in order to detect inherited DNA mutations.

  • Age

Cancer is more common among people age 65 and older. It is rare in young individuals but it may still occur. Luckily modern medicine and technology helped us decrease the risk of cancer and improved recovery.

  • Environment

The environment around you can cause cancer as well. For example, if you are exposed to asbestos or benzene, you have the highest odds of developing cancer. These substances promote the DNA mutation of the cells and therefore enhance the risk of cancer. What are several causes of cancer that may be present in your environment?

Cancer prevention

Sadly, there is no single solution that will help you eliminate cancer risk from your life. On the other hand, we have a few ways that are known to decrease cancer risk significantly. They are:

  1. Quit smoking. Probably the best prevention is to stop smoking as soon as possible. You will drastically decrease the risk of cancer.
  2. Have a healthy diet. When you consume more fruits and vegetables and avoid junk and fast food, you will increase the intake of minerals, vitamins, and substances that literally help our body prevent DNA cell mutation.
  3. Maintain an ideal It is known that people who are obese are at a higher risk of cancer development. Maintain a proper weight will decrease the risk.
  4. Have regular checks at your doctor. When you have regular checks, you are likely to detect cancer at an early All therapies are more effective at an early stage and they can help you cure cancer!


Cancer causing substance or a risk factor may change the DNA of your cells which will start to behave abnormally. When this happens, cancer will start developing. Luckily, there are simple ways you should implement into your lifestyle that will prevent cancer and help you have a healthy life.

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