What is Cancer Etiology?

Cancer Etiology

means “Causes leading to cancer”. Abnormal or Uncontrolled divisions of cells are known as cancer, which happens due to various mutations or any alteration in genes present in the cells. There are certain genes in our cells which are usually at in their Inactive stage called as “

proto Onco genes

” which are also called as

“cancer causing genes

”, these genes if mutated or altered due to any reasons or causes , leads to uncontrolled division of cells and hence, Cancer.

What are the 3 Major Factors which are Associated with Cancer Etiology?


  • The best examples for the physical factors are the IONIZING RADIATIONS like X-Rays, Gamma Rays, and Rays from Radioactive substances.
  • These Rays rupture the DNA of the genes and induce mutations leading to cancer.
  • Even certain food items are also included under physical factors such as Kangri, beetles, over fried cooked items etc.


  • Chemicals such as Caffeine, heavy metallic ions, different hormones such as testosterone and estrogen are few good examples of chemical factors leading to cancer.
  • Testosterone leads to prostrate cancer and estrogen leads to breast cancer.
  • Chemicals released from chewing tobacco or smoking cigar and cigarette leads to lip, mouth and throat cancer. This chemical is called as benzpyrene and N-nitroso-dimethylene.
  • High carbohydrate foods like French fries etc when heated release a carcinogenic chemical called acryl amide which leads to stomach cancer.


  • There are few cancers such as cervix cancer and few brain tumor cancers which are caused due to certain viruses.
  • These virus related cancers are called as Biological cancer and these viruses are called as “onco viruses”.
  • Epstein-Barr virus, Herpes simplex type-2 virus etc are few to be named under this.

All the PHYSICAL and CHEMICAL agents leading to cancer are known as “CARCINOGENS”. As per the National Cancer Institute,

Cancer Etiology

has been studied and diversified on percentage basis .Below are the Details:

S.No. Factors Percentage
1. Diet 35
2. Tobacco 30
3. Sunlight 10
4. Virus 7
5. Occupational 4
6. Alcohol 3
7. Others 10

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