A high body-mass index (BMI), the height-to-weight ratio used to classify people as overweight or obese, can cause a wide range of illnesses including certain cancers. The higher the BMI, the higher the death rates for all cancers, particularly esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, gallbladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and leukemia.
Cancer Causes & Risk Factors
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1 AnswerViruses and bacteria don't cause many cancers, but there are a few noteworthy sexually transmitted infections that play a major role. A human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the cause of almost all cervical cancers and some cancers of the anus, vagina, vulva, penis, mouth, and throat. Hepatitis B and C infections can cause liver cancer, and people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at greater risk of lymphoma and Kaposi's sarcoma.
1 AnswerIt's no surprise that our daily living affects our risk for many diseases. Cancer is no different. –Smoking tobacco increases the risk for at least 15 different cancers including lung, mouth, tongue, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas. People who breathe secondhand smoke are at risk for these as well.
If there are risk factors you can change, it makes sense to change them. Of course, there might not be anything one can do to change his genes, race, or age. But people at higher risk can arrange screening tests at more regular intervals or take medicines known to reduce this risk in susceptible people.
Regardless, everyone should know his or her risk-factor profile and learn what they can do to change -- or eliminate -- their chances of developing cancer.
1 AnswerDiets high in processed meats contain preservatives like nitrates, which act like carcinogens in your body and damage healthy DNA. Damaged DNA is a breeding ground for cancer cells. Studies show that eating as little as one to three slices of processed meat a day can also increase your risk of esophageal, stomach, and colon cancer. Be vigilant of food labels. Pass on processed meats that have sodium nitrate or nitrites on the label.
1 AnswerThere is an increasing amount of evidence that diabetes is linked to a higher incidence of many cancers. Liver, pancreas, endometrial, colorectal, breast, and bladder cancers are more common in diabetics than in the general population. However, there is a decreased amount of prostate cancer in diabetics. The biological reason for this has not been identified as of yet.
1 AnswerJoel Fuhrman, MD, Family Medicine, answeredThere is ample evidence implicating dairy consumption as a causative factor in both prostate and ovarian cancer. Dairy protein boosts the amount of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in the blood. IGF-1 is found in cow's milk and has been shown to occur in increased levels in the blood of individuals consuming dairy products on a regular basis. IGF-1 is known to stimulate the growth of both normal and cancer cells. Case control studies in diverse populations have shown a strong and consistent association between IGF-1 concentrations and prostate cancer risk.
The link between lactose (milk sugar) and ovarian cancer was investigated as part of the Nurses' Health Study, which enrolled over 80,000 women. Researchers reported that women who consumed the highest amount of lactose (one or more servings of dairy per day) had a 44% greater risk for all types of invasive ovarian cancer than those who ate the lowest amount (three or fewer servings monthly).
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1 AnswerNational Academy of Sports Medicine answeredLots of studies have been done on the food-cancer link. In summary, The American Institute for Cancer research recommends that we: 1. Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats; 2. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men, and 1 for women a day; 3. Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium); 4. Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer.
1 AnswerMarc Garnick, Oncology, answeredAlthough the evidence is mixed, some studies suggest that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Carotenoids, which occur naturally in plants, have antioxidant properties. One study reported that men with higher blood levels of particular carotenoids -- lutein, beta cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin -- had a 70% to 80% reduction in risk of prostate cancer. But a randomized clinical trial found that men who took beta carotene supplements had an increased risk of prostate cancer if they already had high blood levels of this antioxidant.
3 AnswersAmerican Cancer Society answered
A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. For example, exposing skin to strong sunlight is a risk factor for skin cancer. Smoking is a risk factor for cancers of the lungs, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, esophagus, kidneys, bladder, colon, and several other organs.
But risk factors don't tell us everything. Having a risk factor, or even several risk factors, does not mean that you will get the disease. And some people who get the disease may not have any known risk factors. Even if a person with cancer has a risk factor, it is often very hard to know how much that risk factor may have contributed to the cancer.