Medication and Infections that Lead to Cancer Development.

Some medications
The female hormones estrogen and progesterone (proh-JESS-tuh-rohn) affect the growth and development of certain cancers. Drugs that contain these female hormones affect cancer risk. Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) relieves the symptoms of menopause and may prevent osteoporosis (OSS-tee-ohpuh-ROH-suhss). There are two types of MHT. Both types affect cancer risk: Estrogen-only MHT increases the risk of endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. Progestin is added to MHT to reduce endometrial cancer risk.
Combined MHT, which contains estrogen and progesterone or progestin, increases the risk of breast cancer. But it lowers the risk of colon cancer.
Birth control pills also contain female hormones. The pill lowers the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers. But it may increase the risk of cervical, liver, and breast cancers. Today, birth control pills contain lower hormone levels than in the past. So the effects of the pill on cancer risk may be reduced. Drugs used to suppress the immune system during an organ transplant may also lead to cancer, especially lymphoma. Chemotherapy drugs, used to treat many types of cancer, may cause leukemia. Cancer survivors are at higher risk of this disease.
You can learn more by talking to your doctor about the benefits and risks of these medications.
Substances in the home, workplace, and the environment
Some chemicals, particles, metals, radioactive materials, and other substances can increase your risk of developing cancer.
Radon is a radioactive gas. It can build up in underground spaces, such as basements, if there is not enough airflow.
Asbestos is a fibrous material that was widely used in building insulation until 1980.
Secondhand smoke includes smoke from burning cigarettes and exhaled smoke.
Air pollution is caused by substances and fine particles released into the air. Sources may include motor vehicles, power plants that burn fossil fuels, and factories.
Chemicals and metals in pesticides, solvents (paint thinners, grease removers, and dry cleaning chemicals), and other substances may increase cancer risk.
Workers in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and other industries may be exposed to carcinogens more often and at higher concentrations. Therefore, they may have an even greater cancer risk.
You can reduce your risk by avoiding or reducing your exposure to cancer-causing substances at home and at work.
Infections.
Some infections may increase your risk of developing cancer.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. HPV is the primary cause of most cervical cancers. There is a new HPV vaccine available for girls and young women. This vaccine and regular screening can reduce infections and cancer risk.
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses may be transmitted by injected drug use, intimate sexual contact, or contact with infected blood. Infection may lead to liver cancer. These viruses are more common in Asia than in the United States. Because of this, Asian American women who have recently immigrated have a higher risk of infection and liver cancer.
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria cause a common stomach infection that increases the risk of developing stomach cancer. H. pylori is more common in developing countries than in the United States. Recent immigrants from Asia or Latin America have a greater chance of infection and risk for stomach cancer.
You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent infection when possible. Vaccines are available for HPV and the hepatitis B virus. If you think you may be at high risk for any of these infections, talk to your doctor about tests and treatments.
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