Causes of Cancer
Cancers are primarily an environmental disease with 90-95% of cases attributed toenvironmental factors and 5-10% due to genetics. Environmental, as used by cancer researchers,means any cause that is not genetic. Common environmental factors that contribute to cancer death include: tobacco (25-30%), diet and obesity (30-35%), infections (15-20%), radiation (bothionizing and no ionizing, up to 10%), stress, lack of physical activity, and environmentalpollutants.
The incidence of lung cancer is highly correlated with smoking. Cancer pathogenesis is traceableback to DNA mutations that impact cell growth and metastasis. Substances that cause DNAmutations are known as mutagens, and mutagensthat cause cancers are known as carcinogens.Particular substances have been linked to specifictypes of cancer. Tobacco smoking is created withmany forms of cancer, and causes 90% of lungcancer. Many mutagens are also carcinogens, butsome carcinogens are not mutagens. Alcohol is anexample of a chemical carcinogen that is not amutagen. Such chemicals may promote cancersthrough stimulating the rate of cell division. Faster rates of replication leaves less time for repair enzymes to repair damaged DNA during DNA replication, increasing the likelihood of amutation. Decades of research has demonstrated the link between tobacco use and cancer in thelung, larynx, head, neck, stomach, bladder, kidney, esophagus and pancreas. Tobacco smokecontains over fifty known carcinogens, includingnitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.Tobacco is responsible for about one in three of allcancer deaths in the developed world, and about onein five worldwide.
ung cancer death rates in theUnited States have mirrored smoking patterns, withincreases in smoking followed by dramatic increasesin lung cancer death rates and, more recently[when?,decreases in smoking followed by decreases in lung cancer death rates in men. However, thenumbers of smokers worldwide is still rising, leading to what some organizations have describedas the tobacco epidemic.