Cancer: The Preventable And Non-Preventable Risk Factors

There are specific viruses which are responsible for certain cancers. Read ahead to know the preventable and non-preventable risk factors of cancer.

Tanya Srivastava
Written by: Tanya SrivastavaUpdated at: Oct 20, 2022 14:26 IST
Cancer: The Preventable And Non-Preventable Risk Factors

Cancer is a disease which everyone fears. However, with each passing day the number of cancer patients is rising worldwide. More than a crore people lose their lives to cancer every year. 

Prevention And Diagnosis Of Cancer

In an exclusive interaction with OnlyMyHealth editorial team, Dr Ishu Gupta, Consultant - Medical Oncology, Fortis Hospital, Noida, explains ways that might help prevent cancer.

1. Healthy Living

The one and only prevention one can make is follow a healthy lifestyle. The most important measure to take is staying away from tobacco products. Smoking is the most common and preventable cause of cancer. Cigarette smoke has more than 70 carcinogens. It is responsible for not only lung cancer but also an important cause of oesophageal cancer, throat cancer, bladder cancer, and kidney cancer. Tobacco is responsible for more than 40%of cancer deaths in our country.  Along with smoking, it is also important to avoid alcohol. One drink a day increases the risk of breast cancer by 12%.  

2. Maintain A Healthy Weight

Another important measure is to maintain healthy body weight. Regular exercise and a healthy diet also help to reduce the risk of cancer. Several cancers have been linked to obesity. These include breast cancer, colon cancer, endometrial cancer, stomach cancer and a few others. It is also important that we take active steps in minimising occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals and radiation. Everyone should make it a point not to use unprescribed hormonal tablets.

Preventable And Non-Preventable Risk Factors Of Cancer

Also read: Important Factors for Ultrasound Procedure That You Need To Consider

3. Vaccination 

There are specific viruses which are responsible for certain cancers. The most common example is HPV(human papillomavirus) , a risk factor for cervix cancer. According to a WHO report, more than 95% of cases of cervix cancer are due to HPV infection. HPV Vaccination can prevent all these cases of cervix cancer. It is very important that girls take the HPV vaccine before the age of 26 years.

Non-preventable Risk Factors Of Cancer 

Apart from the above preventable causes of cancer, several non-preventable risk factors for cancer are there. This can include factors like the genetics of an individual or some environmental factors.  About 10%of patients with cancer may have an inherited genetic abnormality that is responsible for their cancer. Age, in itself, is a risk factor for cancer. As a person ages, the risk of cancer also increases. Also, certain other health conditions like ulcerative colitis or diabetes might put people at a higher risk of cancer. For the same reason that cancer cannot be completely prevented, it is important to catch cancer early.

Therefore, for this, one should get routine health check-ups done. Sometimes screening tests like mammography, PAP smear, Colonoscopy, Endoscopy, and some urine or stool tests might help us diagnose cancer at an early stage. This in turn increases the chances of effective treatments and helps us cure it since most cancers, caught in early stages can be cured.