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What Causes Cancer?

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Cancer is a scary and complex disease. Even when it’s caught early and with good odds for surviving and living a long, healthy life, there are a lot of people who develop cancer each year—and, sadly, not everyone survives it. Most cancers develop depending on several factors, but research has identified many contributing causes of cancer. Some are obvious and preventable, while others are the simple yet unfortunate result of genetics. And although many cancers have a high probability of being beat, the lack of proper or available medical care in certain areas, and even whole countries, can greatly impact the survival rate.

Taking into account the complexity of the disease and recognizing that many factors usually contribute to developing it, here’s a wide range of what causes cancer—and some tips to change what you can to prevent the disease…

1. The Sun

The damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun have been studied immensely over the years. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UV is a proven carcinogen that in excess, can lead to skin cancer as a result of gene mutations from exposure to these harmful rays. There are various types of skin cancer that UV rays can cause or contribute to the risk of, with melanoma being the most serious and often deadly type. There’s a reason many health experts don’t approve of the use of tanning beds, and at least one developed country has completely banned the use of them (hint: it’s Australia).

Although people frequently flock to warm, sunny, vacation destinations to soak up the rays, it doesn’t need to be hot outside to damage your skin and potentially increase your risk of skin cancer. A cooler, cloudy day can still be risky, so you shouldn’t only wear sunscreen when you’re somewhere hot and sunny. You often see parents lathering their children in sunscreen, and while kids have sensitive skin and would be in a lot of pain if they were seriously burned from the sun, adults need protection too.

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