Session: Causes of cancer

Causes of cancer


Cancer is a disease characterised by uncontrolled cell growth and tumour formation due to genetic alterations. DNA damage and genomic instability are the leading causes of sporadic (non-familial) malignancies. Inherited genetic mutations cause a small percentage of malignancies. The majority of cancers are caused by environmental, lifestyle, or behavioural factors. Human cancer is generally not communicable, though oncoviruses and cancer germs can cause it. The term "environmental," as used by cancer researchers, refers to everything that interacts with humans outside of the body. The section explores not only the biophysical environment (e.g., exposure to pollutants or sunlight), but also lifestyle and behavioural influences.