Cancer’s Genetic Background

It may just be unlucky that a few members in a family have or have had cancer, but there is genetic research to show that cancer can run in a family, just like hair or eye color.

Max Larsen, Sports Editor

According to the American Cancer Society, “Cancer is a disease in which cells grow out of control. This happens because of changes in some of the genes inside cells. Genes are pieces of DNA that control how cells make the proteins the body needs to function, as well as how cells are kept in balance.” With genes changing as we get older,cell reproduction leading to the creation of masses could tend to become more likely, which is why cancer is most common in people between the ages 45-85 years old, according to National Cancer Institute.

Frighteningly enough, some, but not all, cancers can be inherited through your bloodline. Cancer is caused by genetic mutations, which have the chance to miss a generation based on familial makeup. “When the genes that suppress tumors don’t function correctly, cells divide uncontrollably, form cancerous tumors, and, if not treated, spread throughout the body. That’s what we call cancer,” states First For Women. Often, genes can fall faulty based on environmental factors, such as catching sunlight or smoking. These can cause skin and lung cancer. These, for the most part, are preventable. However, other forms of cancer, typically unpreventable, can be inherited from your parents or grandparents. That is an inherited mutation.

Although genes show the most numbers for hereditary cancer, habits that develop in families can cause cancer, too. One example of this is smoking, which can cause lung cancer, and infants or small children that are exposed to smoke are more likely to smoke cigarettes, according to U.S. News. This chain could cause cancer to develop for many people in a family, which shows just how common cancer can become among people.

Genetically, there isn’t much that can be done to prevent hereditary cancer. Although, avoiding smoking, junk food, and toxic pests all can lead you to a healthier life and reduce the chance of being diagnosed with cancer. Applying sunscreen and being sun-safe can also help you prevent sun damage to cells, therefore reducing the risk of skin cancer as well. Cell mass reproduction is a bodily function that is impossible to control, but being physically and even mentally healthier can decrease the chances of becoming a cancer patient, due to your body not feeling the need to reproduce cells in such large quantities.