25 Causes of Cancer You Must Know
Common Health Issues

25 Causes of Cancer You Must Know

Cancer is a fatal disease as stats show that it is the leading cause of death in the world right after heart diseases. People often ask what is the cause of cancer. Well, it might not be wrong to say that there are over two dozen causes of this disease. So, in this article, we’ll go through all the causes of cancer along with its treatment.

What is Cancer?

The American Cancer Society defines cancer as a group of complex diseases with many possible causes. In this disease, abnormal cell growth takes place that can invade other parts of the body. 

Cancer should not be confused with benign tumours that do not spread. Scientists say that there are over 200 types of cancers. That is why cancer is considered a major threat to human health.

What are the Causes of Cancer?

We have compiled a list as to what causes cancer and will try to explain them in the following section:


When a mutation takes place within cells, cancer is evolved. It allows a healthy cell to grow rapidly without any limit. A mutation in the DNA repair gene might also cause cancer leading some of the cells to become cancerous. Mutations can occur at any stage of your life. 

2. Age

Mostly, people diagnosed with cancer are 65 years or older. This shows that cancer can take years to develop but it might occur in childhood as well. 

3. Smoking 

It is not a myth when people say, smoking causes cancer. The cigarette smoke contains several harmful chemicals that might become the cause of cancer.

4. Tobacco Chewing

The National Cancer Institute has found that tobacco is a leading cause of cancer and hence, death. The chemicals in tobacco damage the DNA within cells.  

5. Drinking Alcohol

Drinking alcohol excessively increases the risk of developing cancer mostly in the mouth, esophagus, and breast. The risk increases even more if a person is both, alcoholic and a tobacco user.

6. Diet

Scientists have studied many nutrients and additives and have deduced the following as cancerous. These are: 

  • Antioxidants
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Fluoride
  • Charred meat
  • Vitamin
  • Tea
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Calcium
  • Acrylamide


7. Excessive Exposure to Sun

Going out and working in the sun for excessive periods may cause cancer as well. Wearing a hat, sunglasses, a long sleeves shirt, and long pants might protect you from the harmful radiations. You may also use sunscreen products for better care. 

8. Obesity 

People who are overweight are more prone to the cancer of the esophagus, gallbladder, pancreas, and kidneys while women are at a higher risk of developing cancer of the breast or endometrium.

9. Unsafe Sex

Unsafe sex causes cancer to develop if one of the members has acquired an HPV infection. 

10. Family History

People who have a family history of cancer might be at a higher risk of developing it themselves because mutations can be passed on but it does not necessarily mean that you’ll develop cancer.

11. Immunosuppression

Some people are immuno-compromised and hence, they are at a higher risk of acquiring this disease. These are mostly AIDS patients or those who recently received an organ transplant.

12. Health Conditions Like Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is actually an ulcerative disease of the colon. It is not cancer itself but neglecting or failing to treat this disease might cause cancer. 

13. Chemicals in the Air

According to the 14th report on carcinogens by the National Toxicology Program, there are a total of 27 environmental carcinogens. All of them are hazardous to human health and have the ability to cause cancer. 

14. Human Papillomavirus

This virus infects the skin and mucous membrane of humans. The high-risk types of this virus can cause cancer such as cervical cancer and that of the oral cavity.


15. Epstein Barr Virus

The Epstein Barr Virus causes viral pharyngitis (infectious mononucleosis). The possible complications of this disease include jaundice, liver inflammation, enlarged spleen, and high risk of cancer.

16. Hepatitis Virus

The Hepatitis Virus, if it is able to produce chronic disease, can lead to cirrhosis of liver, and liver cancer. 

17. Herpes Virus

This virus causes Kaposi's Sarcoma which is the most common cancer in HIV-untreated individuals. 

18. Schistosoma Organisms

These organisms can cause acute and chronic infections. Certain health professionals are of the view that these organisms can produce cancer in humans as well. 

19. Helicobacter Pylori

This gram-negative bacterium can cause chronic inflammation in the stomach and duodenum and are sometimes termed “ulcer bacteria”. If patients develop MALT lymphoma, H.pylori shall be eradicated at once, or else, the lymphoma might progress.

20. Caffeine 

Some new studies have found that caffeine contains carcinogenic properties if taken excessively.

21. Pickled Vegetables

Just like caffeine, pickled vegetables are also found to be carcinogenic if they are old.

22. Radiations

Ionizing radiations have the potential to damage DNA and cause cancer. These are X-rays, gamma rays, alpha and beta particles, and other high-energy radiations. 

23. Hormones 

Estrogen, the female sex hormone is a known carcinogen. Although this hormone has physiological roles in the female body, it is associated with certain cancers as well. 

24. Chronic Inflammation

Diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are attributed to causing cancer.

25. Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has the deduced the following six drugs to be carcinogenic:

  • Trabectedin
  • Trastuzumab deruxtecan
  • Polatuzumab vedotin
  • Sacituzumab govitecan
  • Inotuzumab ozogamicin
  • Enfortumab vedotin

Treatment Options of Cancer

Treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer. If the cancer is removed entirely surgically, the diagnosis and treatment may occur at the same time. This is called an excisional biopsy. 

If the cancer is more than 2 cm, an excisional biopsy can not be done. In such circumstances, treatment can be prolonged and can have one or more of the following:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • A combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Surgery

Prognosis of Cancer

The prognosis of cancer may range from very good to poor and is directly related to the type and stage of the disease. If cancer spreads to lymph nodes or metastasizes to other organs, the prognosis is decreased. On the bright side, if a person is treated and cured and cancer does not come back within 5 years, the patient can expect to live a normal life.



Rich Health Editorial Team

Health Research

Rich Health Editorial Team is made up of medical practitioners and experienced writers who provide information for dealing with health issues in a simple and easy-to-understand manner