Cancer Causes & Risk Factors

Cancer Causes & Risk Factors

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Dr. William Li - How does my diet affect my risk of developing cancer?
    Diet is the ultimate way for us to make a positive impact on our body's environment; cancer-fighting nutrients can protect us from disease. In this video, disease prevention specialist William Li, MD, shares his favorite cancer-fighting foods. 
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    A answered
    There are many known health benefits related to physical activity. Exercise can reduce stress, increase energy and help maintain a healthy weight. Researchers are also learning that physical activity appears to contribute to reduced risk of cancers of the colon and breast. A number of studies have also reported links between physical activity and a reduced risk of cancers of the prostate, lung, and uterine lining (endometrial cancer). There is some evidence that other types of cancer may also be less common among people who regularly exercise including stomach (gastric) cancer and other gastrointestinal tract (GI) tract cancers.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    In seconds, the two types of scanners used at more than 100 U.S. airports zap a full-body, naked image of you and --- discovering that you're packing a hip replacement, not a bomb -- send you to your flight. It's far more pleasant than the crotch-checking pat-downs sometimes used when you set off the alarm and TSA agents can't tell why. Still, the big question is: Is there a cancer risk?

    You're not alone in worrying about cancer-causing radiation, especially since the European Union has now banned "backscatter" x-ray scanners, which account for about half of all airport x-ray scanners in the U.S. Here's what happens when you're technologically undressed and assessed (we fly constantly, by the way, so this is personal).

    Backscatter scanners -- two big, boxy contraptions you stand between -- run a thin x-ray over your body. In another room, someone checks the image. Once you're cleared, the image is deleted forever.

    How much radiation did you get? Not nearly as much as you will in flight. Winging through the upper atmosphere from coast to coast exposes you to 4,000 times more radiation than the scanner emits, and you'd need 40 backscatter scans to equal one dental x-ray.

    Besides, millimeter-wave scanners, which use harmless radio waves and not x-rays are spreading fast. They resemble rounded phone booths, produce better images, and are designed to be more discreet. They're in ever-more U.S. airports (78 as of last fall) and Europe.

    While no one needs more radiation in our over-zapped lives, we're not worried about backscatter scanners. But if you're twitchy about a different kind of exposure -- that is, being super-viewed by anonymous screeners (however fleetingly), that's different. In that case, choose the pat-down or take the bus.
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    A , Hematology & Oncology, answered
    Dr. Agus - Environment

    While having a genetic predisposition to cancer increases your risk, it usually doesn't mean you'll definitely get the disease. In this video, Dr. David Agus talks about steps you can take to decrease your cancer risk.


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    The term environment includes not only air, water, and soil, but also substances and conditions in the home and workplace. It also includes diet; the use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs; exposure to chemicals; and exposure to sunlight and other forms of radiation.

        • People are exposed to a variety of environmental factors for varying lengths of time, and these factors interact in ways that are still not fully understood. Further, individuals have varying levels of susceptibility to these factors.

        • Hazardous substances are often found in higher levels in the workplace than in the general environment. For this reason, some workers may have greater and longer exposures to such substances than the general population. Findings of higher than expected numbers of cancer cases among workers in particular occupations or industries provide important leads regarding causes of cancer among the general public. In fact, occupational studies (studies of specific groups of workers) have identified many specific cancer-causing substances and have provided the motivation to find ways to reduce or eliminate exposures in the workplace and elsewhere.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.
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    A research study found evidence of exposure to TDCIPP, a cancer-causing fire retardant, in the bodies of the 22 mothers and their 26 children tested. In the children, the average concentration of BDCIPP, a chemical biomarker left when TDCIPP breaks down, was nearly five times that of the average in the mothers. In the most extreme case, a child had 23 times the level measured in the mother. The study, the first to evaluate children’s exposure to TDCIPP, documents that children in critical windows of development are experiencing exposure to a chemical listed as a carcinogen by California health authorities.

    The levels of BDCIPP in adults were two to six times greater than the median level reported in three previous studies, perhaps suggesting increasing use of TDCIPP. Since the study was the first to analyze BDCIPP in children, it is unknown whether the amount of this metabolite in children’s bodies has been increasing over time.
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    Hispanic people have lower rates of common cancers when compared to non-Hispanic whites. This may come from the genetic "mix" that many Hispanic people have. Certain cancers related to infections and viruses still tend to be more common in Hispanic people. And according to the American Cancer Society, cancer is still the leading cause of death for Hispanic people in the United States.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    The danger of cancer occurs if you don't brush and floss effectively. Bacteria forms in the mouth, plaque builds up, and inflammation forms in the gums, increasing the possibility of cancer anywhere in the body. Because of hormonal changes that occur during monthly menstruation and menopause, women experience more gum sensitivity and inflammation, putting them at greater risk.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    It'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.
    This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com
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    There is some evidence that DES-exposed sons may have testicular abnormalities, such as undescended testicles or abnormally small testicles. The risk for testicular or prostate cancer is unclear; studies of the association between DES exposure in utero and testicular cancer have produced mixed results. In addition, investigations of abnormalities of the urogenital system among DES-exposed sons have not produced clear answers.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.