How to evaluate your cancer risk?
Cancer is known for its poor prognosis. Chances of cure increase if the victims of this high mortality disease are diagnosed at early stages. But it is usually in the advanced stages that it is detected. This can be attributed to the lack of prominent symptoms initially. Due consideration of the following points is thus mandatory for you to be able to evaluate your cancer risk.
Has anybody in your family had cancer?
Yes, cancer can be hereditary. Close to one-tenth of the number of cancers diagnosed are known to be caused by inherited gene mutations. The advent of sophisticated gene-based technologies has allowed scientists to identify specific gene locations, the mutations in which can be transferred from the parents to their offspring. These mutations may not necessarily cause cancer in the offspring but definitely, pose a risk. If any of your family members have had cancer, it is advisable for you to go for genetic testing or counseling to know your chances of developing a malignancy.
There has also been sufficient evidence that some cancers may run in families, although not inherited, due to shared lifestyle factors like smoking tobacco or excessive drinking.
Do you experience anything unusual?
It is equally essential for men and women to know and understand their body. This will allow them to identify anything unusual happening to them or a failure of some body processes. Cancer, as a disease, does not have characteristic signs or symptoms. But there are some symptoms that may indicate a risk for cancer. For instance, lumps in the breast for breast cancer or difficulty in urination for prostate cancer.
Regular self-examinations may help you spot a serious condition early-on.
Your lifestyle factors that may cause cancer
Excessive intake of tobacco or alcohol
There has been a long established direct-relationship between tobacco smoking and cancer. During the use of tobacco-containing products like cigarettes or cigars, the carcinogen is transported to all the parts of your body. Research suggests that you might be at risk even if you don’t consume any of these products. Not only are smokers highly vulnerable to cancer, so are the people surrounding them. Partners, co-workers or other people around can acquire cancer through passive smoking.
Like tobacco, alcohol consumption is also a risk factor for malignancies. The more you drink, the more heightened is the level of risk independent of the type of beverage.
Long-term exposure to sunlight
Sunrays give off UV radiation that is capable of causing early aging in the human skin cells. An excess of it can damage the DNA material in skin cells and an accumulation of these over time can cause the cells to multiply uncontrollably causing cancer.
Prolonged exposure to other carcinogens
Radon, lead, asbestos and many other constituents that are used extensively in industries and research labs have been identified to be cancer-causing. They must be handled with enough self-protection.
Diet and daily-activity routines
Some foods like hydrogenated oils and processed meats interfere with the body’s usual metabolic activities and lead to a number of health conditions including cancer.
Having health conditions that can progress to cancer
Some STDs of the genitals are known to progress to cancer. Although there is no attached percentage of surety to this, most of them are HPV infections. If you have had prior exposure to an STD, you must consider getting checked.