Are Some People More Prone to Cancer Than Others?
Over time, the body’s cells begin to wear-down and die; however, in many organs, the adult cells (stem cells [undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide [through mitosis] to produce more stem cells]) play a vital role in maintaining bodily function by replacing old cells with new ones. However, sometimes certain factors may affect the replacement of these cells. For example:
Age – is a factor that often affects whether someone may or may not develop cancer, as many cancers are prone to develop as a person gets older. The are even certain cancers that tend to develop within a certain age range. For example: cervical cancer; where around 50% of diagnosed women are between the age range of 35 – 54 years old. Usually, as someone gets older, the risk of developing some type of cancer increases.
Chance – can often play a factor in the development of cancer, for example: cell division; where the genetic code of a cell must be copied exactly every time it divides; however, occasionally an accident may happen and the cell does not get copied exactly. Sometimes the cell may repair itself, not make much of a difference, die, or be part of the puzzle that in the future could have some bearing on provoking cancer.
Genetics – where there is a greater likelihood of developing the disease due to family history (the genetic make-up of someone makes it more likely that cancer may develop) where other members of the same family have been diagnosed with cancer. Even “cancer families” exist, where cancer (sometimes a specific type of cancer [eg. breast cancer]) has plagued a family for generations.
Immune System – may be weak due to many reasons, such as: illness (HIV or AIDS), drugs used to suppress the immune system to stop rejection after a transplant (heart, liver, or lung, etc.), and being born with a medical syndrome that may affect the immunity of that person, etc. These types of cancer are usually categorized into two different groups:
1. Virus related – certain gynecological cancers, and some lymphomas, liver, and stomach cancers, etc.
2. Lymphomas – which are closely related to lymphoid leukemias, which may develop in the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, blood, or other organs, etc.
Chronic infections or transplanted organs can provoke cells to divide more times than is normal, resulting in the higher possibility of a genetic fault happening (chance).
Risk Behavior – which means someone indulging in something that may put themselves at risk. One good example is smoking which is closely associated with developing lung cancer. Other examples may include: bad dietary habits, heavy drinking, working with or using hazardous chemicals (breathing-in fumes because of insufficient respiratory protection, etc.), which are harmful to the health.
Note: Risk factors have been placed in alphabetical order only, and not in any particular order that may suggest one being more of a risk than another.