ZocdocAnswersCan anyone get cancer?

Question

Can anyone get cancer?

Are there any prevention tips? I am a 31 year old woman and my grandmother had lymphoma. I try to lead a healthy life.

Answer

I think that this is a question that is best answered specifically for you by your primary care physician who can go through your history in depth. Speaking in general terms cancer (or malignant neoplasm) refers to cell growth that has lost the normal control that prevents invasion of surrounding tissues and structures, and sometimes can spread to distant sites in the body (or metastasize) through blood vessels, or something called the lymphatic system. It is difficult to give pertinent risk factors for cancers overall, because there are so many different types, and they aren't necessarily all the same. Cancers can be divided into 2 separate groups by etiology: environmental, and hereditary. Environmental factors are typically thought to play the most significant role (some cancers are an exception to this of course) and are thought to promote abnormal cell growth by either stimulating the uncontrolled proliferation of a cell group, or disrupting the normal cell regulation pathways that promote apoptosis (cell death). Genetic factors cannot usually be changed, but if there is a strong family history of cancer, it may be worth visiting a medical geneticist for more information. General environmental factors that are known to be related to carcinogenesis (cancer formation) include: tobacco, diet and obesity, environmental pollutants, and radiation exposure. Avoidance of these factors, a healthy balanced diet, and regular exercise are good places to start. Again for more information, I would recommend a visit to your primary care physician. I hope this helps.

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