How Do People Get Cancer?


Cancer is the result of abnormal cell growth in your body. Healthy cells divide and replicate all the time as part of normal body processes. Cancerous cells adhere to different principles. What makes some people end up with cancerous tumors while others remain healthy and cancer free is not yet fully understood. There are certain factors that increase your risk of obtaining cancer, however.

Cancer Cells

Cancerous cells do not behave like normal cells. Cancer cells have faulty DNA. They continue to reproduce in spite of their genetic abnormalities. Cancer cells also multiply and divide at lightening speed while setting up their own blood supply to support tumor growth. Cancer cells propagate until they have taken over organs and tissue. Then the cells break free and spread throughout your body, which is called metastasis.


Your body works to maintain homeostasis, or equilibrium. Homeostasis is a balance of all physiological processes. When your body is fighting illness, exposed to chemicals and toxins, or has lowered immunity, it is easier for abnormal cells to proliferate.

Environmental Causes

Smoking, or breathing in second hand smoke, increases your risk of cancer by breaking down normal cells in your lungs. There are also other environmental factors that contribute to cancer such as asbestos and repeated sun exposure. In the case of environmental factors, changes occur when your body has repeated exposure to harmful chemicals and UV rays. The way to avoid these types of cancer is to not smoke or expose your body to harmful toxins.

Lowered Immunity

Immunity disorders keep your body in a constant state of stress. With lowered immunity through diseases like HIV, it is easier for abnormal cells to grow because the body is unable to fight off the disease. Most HIV infected persons end up with cancerous tumors as part of their disorder. Their bodies no longer have the resources to fight bacteria, viruses or abnormal cell development.

Stress Factors

Stress also contributes to your risk of getting cancer. People who are stressed typically stay in a fight or flight mode, which keeps certain hormones, like adrenaline, at higher than normal levels. Stress also increases the level of free radicals, which are responsible for aging and damage to your body tissues. Getting plenty of sleep, proper nutrition, maintaining a healthy weight and a regular exercise program decrease the risk of abnormal cell growth.

Genetic Predisposition

There are also genetic factors. Scientists are currently working to understand why some people are predisposed to certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer. It is known, however, that if you have female relatives with breast cancer, you have a genetic predisposition for the disease. The way to reduce your risk of obtaining cancer, in this case, is prevention through regular check ups and mammograms.

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