Environmental factors favoring the development of cancer
Environmental factors favoring the development of tumors are called carcinogens (carcinogens, carcinogens). It is a group of substances and pathogens that increase the risk of cancer, especially in people with a genetic predisposition that can be determined by genetic tests. And the development of neoplasms itself can be determined by examining tumor markers.
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Lifestyle as an element of cancer prevention
A healthy lifestyle that eliminates exposure to carcinogens and other cancer-causing factors includes a complete diet and weight control, avoiding tobacco smoke and alcohol, and reducing stress levels. Controlling these aspects in your daily life can effectively reduce your risk of developing cancer. If you are searching for how do carcinogens cause cancer then you are at the right place.
Consuming increased amounts of alcohol contributes to the development of cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, breast and colon cancer. The products of alcohol transformation in the body – acetaldehyde, which interferes with the DNA repair process – are the most harmful. Ethanol itself (the alcohol that we consume) also has a local toxic effect and damages cells, leading to proto oncogenes formation.
Regarding cancer, obesity significantly increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer, gallbladder cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, and leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Recent research also suggests a link between abdominal obesity and endometrial cancer. The risk of developing the disease in women with a BMI> 25 is 3 times higher. When other factors, such as low physical activity, are added to obesity, the risk of developing cancer is even higher.
Smoking is a key factor increasing the incidence of lung cancer (where as many as 90% of patients are smokers), cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus (80% of patients are smokers), but also kidney, pancreatic and bladder cancer (30% of patients smoke cigarettes). Cigarette smoke contains more than 50 carcinogens, including benzo (a) pyrene, nitrosamines, hydrazine, phenol and tar. The risk of developing lung cancer depends on the duration of the addiction and the number of cigarettes smoked. The harmful effects of cigarette smoke are not only exposed to smokers who inhale the so-called main smoke, but also people in the vicinity inhaling side smoke (in such cases we refer to passive smoking). Side smoke contains 4 times more toxins than the main smoke – therefore stay in smoky rooms and other forms of passive smoking should be strictly avoided. The most optimistic fact is that smoking is avoidable, it is a factor that can be eliminated from our environment.
A properly selected diet plays an important role in the prevention of cancer. By introducing a few simple rules to your daily diet, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing the disease.
The most important principles of such an “anti-cancer diet” are:
- reducing the consumption of animal fat,
- increasing dietary fiber consumption,
- reducing the consumption of salt and sugar,
- eating foods that contain antioxidants and other compounds that prevent cancer, such as berries (which contain ellagic acid and anthocyanins), tomatoes (a source of lycopene that protects against cell DNA damage), broccoli (a source of sulforaphane, which lowers the risk of colon and prostate cancer) ), cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts (they contain glucosinolates, reducing the risk of lung cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and bladder cancer), garlic and onion (they have allicin and quercetin), green tea (contains numerous catechins and polyphenols limiting the development of cancer cells, preventing, among others, leukemia, melanoma, prostate cancer), citrus fruits (rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with strong anti-cancer properties, spices – curry and chili peppers (contain curcumin and capsaicin), grapes and wine (in moderate amounts – contain resveratrol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties),
- Regular and controlled physical exercise may reduce the risk of developing malignant neoplasms, mainly breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and endometrial cancer. Research has shown that 1 hour of increased physical activity 5 times a week significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. The biological mechanism of how do carcinogens cause cancer in breast cancer is mainly based on the reduction of the duration of the effect of estrogens on the breast, lowering insulin levels and insulin-dependent growth factor (IGF-1), activation of the immune system and weight control of the woman.