How Do You Get Cancer

October 22, 2021
How Do You Get Cancer

A complex system of factors can influence whether or not you’re someone who is diagnosed with cancer, so you should never feel as though you have brought cancer on yourself or someone else. In this article, we give you a brief overview of what cancer is and how you get cancer. 

What is Cancer? 

Cancer is an illness characterized by uncontrolled cell growth that spreads. Cells have typical life cycles that cause them to reproduce and then die when they're old or damaged. But sometimes, a mutation happens and a cell will grow uncontrollably until it becomes a cancerous growth. 

Because our body is made up of trillions of cells, the mutation that causes cancer can happen almost anywhere, and it’s not as rare of an occurrence as you might expect it to be. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, there were 18.1 million new cases in 2018 alone and by 2040, that’s expected to rise to 29.5 million cases. Because cancer is so pervasive, it’s important to know what it is and what can put you at risk.

How Do You Get Cancer? 

Cancer is not contagious like a cold or virus. It comes from mutations within cells in your body. There are two types of cell mutations - those that occur before birth, and those that occur after birth.  

  • Gene mutations you're born with. You may be born with a genetic mutation that you inherited from your parents. This type of mutation accounts for a small percentage of cancers (5-10% according to the NIH).
  • Gene mutations that occur after birth. Most gene mutations occur after you're born and aren't inherited. A number of forces can cause gene mutations, such as smoking, radiation, viruses, cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens), obesity, hormones, chronic inflammation and a lack of exercise.

What Environmental Factors are Linked to Cancer? 

There are also some environmental factors that can put you at risk to develop cancer. The most  common environmental factors contributing to cancer are: 

While you may have heard that sun exposure or smoking can increase your risk of developing cancer, you may not know that geographical locations can also have an impact on whether you develop cancer. For example, people within close proximity to the collapse of the twin towers on 9/11/2001 were more likely to develop cancer due to the debris from the crash, and people in close proximity to Chernobyl were more likely to develop thyroid cancer as a result of radiation exposure. 

Although there are steps all of us can take to stay healthy, like eating healthy foods and exercising, even if you do everything you’re supposed to do mutations can still happen. Be kind to yourself and your loved ones, and remember that there are millions of others out there fighting with you.  

Learn More About Cancer With OneVillage

Regardless of where you are in your cancer journey, OneVillage is here to help. OneVillage is dedicated to providing the support, information, goods, and services that cancer patients need. Whether you’re wondering how you get cancer or how to find a community of people like you, OneVillage is here.  In addition to highly personalized recommendations and checklists to help you navigate your new normal, through our WishList feature we also allow supporters to contribute to a fund for  your medical trips and other expenses. If you have any further questions about what OneVillage offers and site features, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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