In 2006, Harvard Men’s Health Watch stated that “About 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and some 560,000 will die from the disease” (Exercise and Malignancy 5). Many individuals and families have fought the battle of cancer for a number of years. There is not yet a perfect cure for this number one deadliest disease, and it is unknown how long it will take to find one. While many risk factors of developing cancer cannot be changed such as genetics, environmental carcinogens (substances that cause cancer), or a certain number of hormones, fortunately, there are several studies that show there are ways to somewhat reduce the risk of cancer. It is not possible to be immune, but by following a nutritional diet and developing a physically active lifestyle, it is possible to reduce the risk of cancer immensely.
Many substances or factors cause cancer, but any type of cancer develops the same way. Normally, the cells that make up the body grow and then divide. Eventually these cells die and new cells are produced. Cancer results from a mutation that has altered the DNA that make up a cell. These mutations affect certain cancer genes that are in the body, tumor suppressors and oncogenes. Tumor suppressors tell the cell to slow down cell division which prevents the cells from over-dividing. Cancer mutations destroy these genes, causing cells to divide uncontrollably. Mutations also affect an oncogene, which tells the cell when to grow. These mutations keep oncogenes in an “active state”, causing an overproduction of cells (Gibbs 60). The body does not need these extra cells and may become a mass, or a tumor. Fortunately, not all tumors become cancer. A tumor that is not cancerous is called a benign tumor and can normally be removed with surgery and does not spread to other parts of the body. When a tumor is defined as cancerous, it has the ability to metastasize, or in other words, spread throughout the body (“What Is Cancer?”).
Cancer always develops the same way; however, there are different risk factors that contribute to the mutation that starts the process. Sometimes these risk factors cannot be avoided, such as genetics. Examples of genetic risk factors are the BRCA1 and the BRCA2 genes. These genes are normal and are essential for the controlled division of cells. Unfortunately, when a mutation attacks these cells, a woman’s risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer may be increased. According to the National Cancer Institute, 5-10% of breast cancers and 10-15% of ovarian cancers are linked to the inherited mutation of the BRCA1 and 2 genes. However, not all women will receive a breast or ovarian cancer diagnosis because of faulty BRCA1 and 2 genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2).
Poor nutrition is a lifestyle factor that is considered a risk factor of cancer, and it can be prevented. One’s diet plays a large role in their overall health. Generally, one who eats well and takes care of themselves are...