Cancer refers to a large group of diseases that bring about changes to DNA in cells, causing these cells to divide faster than normal. These abnormally dividing cells can invade and destroy normal body tissue. Cancer can affect almost every type of tissue in the body.
Some people have a family history of cancer, which increases their risk - although not always - for developing cancer. Smoking, alcohol and excessive sun exposure or frequent blistering sunburns can contribute to cancer, as can having unsafe sex.
A poor or high-fat diet can increase a person’s risk for cancer of the colon and prostate. Excess weight may increase the risk for various types of cancer, including breast, uterine, ovarian, prostate and colon cancers.
Aging increases a person’s risk for developing cancer, but it can be diagnosed in people of all ages. Cancer can develop in people who are exposed to toxic chemicals in the environment, including pesticides, asbestos and radon. Medications such as hormone therapy in women going through menopause have been shown to create a higher risk for breast or uterine cancer.