Cancerous diseases that are related to heredity & new causes of cancer By Dr Dorai Ramanathan Consultant Medical Oncologist, Al Zahra Hospital Dubai

Although ‘Cancer’ continues to be a scary word, the last decade reveals further evolving knowledge on cancer including the causes, prevention, and treatment.

Historically, we are aware that certain personal habits such as Excessive smoking, Alcohol consumption, unprotected Sun exposure, several viruses have contributed to various cancer. We know the incidence of Lung cancer is higher in chronic smokers than non-smokers, Smoking can also increase the chance of Bladder cancer, Liver cancer can result from long term complication of an alcohol-induced liver damage, Malignant melanoma is a major concern in some specific population due to excessive exposure to harmful UV rays, Cervical cancer and some forms of oral cancers can be associated with sexually transmitted viruses, There are also other reasons such as chronic and recurrent infections, occupational hazards including harmful chemical exposure, radiation exposure, Auto immune disorders,  so on and so forth, increasing the risk of cancer

In the last decade, more data is available suggesting poor lifestyle as a significant cause of cancer. There are huge study data linking Obesity (High Body Mass Index) to almost all types of cancer, in some instance including brain cancer. The common man belief that excessive sugar consumption causing cancer might not be directly true, but this concept can be explained by the fact excessive sugar can cause Obesity therefore increasing the chance of cancer. Sedentary lifestyles have the same explanation.

Food adulteration is also proving to be a significant contributor to the cancer prevalence. Simple things like artificial food colouring, artificial flavours, use of pesticides, preservatives mainly canned food shows huge relation with occurrence of cancer.

It is vital to start working on our lifestyles. Good Habits such as exercise, sound sleep, Healthy eating and maintaining a flat tummy could not only prevent cancer but also prevents from spectrum of conditions like Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypercholestrelemia thereby reducing the chance of heart attack and stroke too.

Hereditary reasons have always been a topic of immense interest with cancer. About 5-10% of all cancers are hereditary. Unfortunately, several cancer types can have family connection. This has massive impact in the screening programme aiming for early diagnosis.

Breast cancer, the most common type of cancer, has strong genetic predisposition commonly linked to the BRCA (BReast CAncer gene) in addition to few other genetic mutations. These patient group have high preponderance to Ovarian cancer too.

Colon cancer are well known to be associated to several abnormal genes with familial association.

Several other cancers such as Prostate cancer, Womb cancer, Thyroid cancer, Pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, adrenal gland cancers all have strong hereditary association.

We firmly recommend people with family history of cancer to visit their Oncologist to discuss Genetic testing and Counselling and work on averting, diagnosing, and curing cancer.

 

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