It is not possible to determine the exact reason why a person develops blood cancer. Research shows that certain factors could increase a person’s chance of developing this cancer. Risk factors are the identified characteristics that have higher probabilities of developing a cancer. There are many different types of blood cancers, while each has its own set of risk factors, there are a few common factors as well.
The most common and dangerous chemical which can cause blood cancer is benzene. Exposure to heavy factory smoke and chemicals, formaldehyde etc., can also lead to blood cancer. Air is the medium through which people are exposed to these chemicals and breathing intoxicated air makes the person more vulnerable to blood cancer. Certain drugs used in treating cancer, especially those of chemotherapy can increase a person’s risk of developing blood cancer too.
Blood cancer can also be caused because of exposure to radiation.
Radiation of certain wavelength can destroy the DNA and can cause cancer. Higher the dose of radiation, greater the risk of developing blood cancer. Exposure to radiation as a part of radiotherapy to cure cancers and to imaging tests can increase the risk of developing blood cancer. Also, exposure to radiation in the environment will have an impact in developing the disease. The most dangerous instance that has happened in this case was the atomic bomb blast in Japan. The exposure to heavy radiation in this region post the atomic blast has caused blood cancer in many people.
Inflammation is generally a normal physiological response of the body to any injury caused to tissue. The process starts when the damaged tissue release chemicals, that cause the cells to divide and grow which helps in rebuilding the tissue. This helps in speed recovery of the injury. The inflammatory procedure ends when the injury is healed. Infections that do not get eliminated cause chronic inflammations. Abnormal immune reactions to normal tissues or obesity can also lead to inflammations.
Chronic inflammation can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer. It is important to determine why and where the inflammation has occurred and which type of inflammation it is. This information contributes to the detection and diagnosis of blood cancer. The contribution of the inflammation and its causes to physiological process (such as wound healing) also plays a vital role in detecting cancer.
There are some symptoms which are inherited syndromes. These syndromes are associated with higher possibilities of developing cancer. They include Fanconi anemia, Bloom syndrome, ataxia-telangiectasia, down syndrome and a few more.
- Fanconi Anemia:
Fanconi Anemia is an inherited disease which leads to bone marrow failure. FA restricts the bone marrow from making new blood cells for the normal functioning of the body. It also causes the bone marrow to make faulty blood cells and can lead to blood cancer.
- Bloom syndrome:
Bloom syndrome is a very rare genetic disorder characterized by small dilated blood vessels over the nose and cheeks, and deficiencies which cause many types of blood cancers.
- Down syndrome:
People, especially children with Down syndrome have a higher risk of inheriting blood cancer. Here, patients having abnormalities that affect the production of blood cells. They then develop blood cancer because of these abnormalities. These people have an extra section of DNA known as chromosome 21 and hence an extra copy of Erg Gene.
- Ataxia-telangiectasia (AT) :
AT is a very rare inherited disease which generally affects the nervous system and the circulatory system. It is caused due to the mutations in specific areas of the DNA. Due to an alteration in a specific gene known as ATM, AT is caused. The condition occurs when a person inherits two non-working copies of a gene. A person who inherits only one non-working gene copy is known as a carrier. This gene has an ability to produce enzymes, which can restrict cell growth and promote cell death.
This is one of the most confirmed risk factors for blood cancer. Smoking is mostly known for causing lung or mouth cancer only, but it is one of the major contributors for blood cancer too. The tobacco can severely damage or change the DNA of blood cells which leads abnormal growth and malfunctioning of the cell causing blood cancer. It can also weaken the body’s immune system, making the body more prone to get attacked by the cancer cells. Continuing to smoke in spite of having cancer leads to an enormous growth in the cancerous cells.
Today, more than 50% of the world’s population do not follow a nutritious diet, a few foods however are proven to increase the risk of cancer. They are as follows:
- Processed meat
- Microwave popcorn
- Aerated drinks
- Diet food and beverages
- Refined flour
- Refined sugars
- Dirty fruits and vegetables
- Farmed salmon
- Hydrogenated oils