English Across the Curriculum


Causes of Cancer

Scientists do not really know why cancer cells start to grow. They sometimes lose their ability to control their own growth. This is because DNA may be damaged. Doctors, however, have found out that there are many factors that cause cancer. Many forms of cancer are caused by our environment. For example, if you expose yourself to the sun’s rays without any protection for too long, chances of getting skin cancer will become higher.

Smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer or other diseases over a certain time. Being in close contact with chemicals may also increase the risk of getting cancer.

Being exposed to radiation for too long may also cause cancer. This happened when the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl exploded in 1986. Cancer became more common in the region for years on.

Other types of cancer are not caused by our environment. They come from our genetic material. We inherit it from our parents or grandparents.

Cooling towers of a nuclear power plant. Higher levels of radiation may lead to more cancer cases.
Image : Frettie, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons