7 Common Causes of Cancer in the US

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Cancer is one of the most dangerous diseases affecting men, women, and children of all ages in every part of the world. According to the latest research on Our World in Data, about 10 million people die from cancer yearly. In other terms, every 6th person who dies around the globe succumbs to this disease. Regrettably, scientists have not yet come up with one significant cause for cancer. 

It’s primarily caused by your lifestyle choices. Most people who lead an unhealthy lifestyle are prone to getting cancer. Let’s go through some of the most common causes of cancer in the US:

1. Smoking

Lung cancer happens to be the most common cancer affecting people in the US. Surveys depict that an estimated 235,760 lung cancer cases were diagnosed in 2021. Most people contract lung cancer because of tobacco smoking, which amounts to about 30% of cancer-related deaths. 

However, smoking doesn’t only affect your lungs but also your throat, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, and cervix. 

2. Environmental toxins

Exposure to environmental toxins and hazardous substances, such as asbestos, is among the leading causes of cancer among US citizens. Alarmingly, our homes and workplaces are rampant with harmful compounds that keep getting accumulated in the body over the years. Mesothelioma is one such form of cancer primarily caused by asbestos poisoning. 

Asbestos fibers collect in the lungs of the abdominal lining, leading to internal aberrations and scarring. Later on, they form into tumors and result in mesothelioma. However, suppose you develop this cancer due to your employer’s negligence. In that case, you can file a mesothelioma lawsuit to get financial compensation. 

3. Screening delays

Do you go for an annual screening of your breasts, cervix, or prostate? If not, you might be at high risk of cancer as well, especially if you’re over 40 years old. These thorough examinations are beneficial for reducing the risk of severe cancer and diagnosing the disease early on. 

In regions where there are no cancer screenings or people delay the health examinations, the cancer diagnostic and death rates go way high.

4. Infections

Various viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections can make you prone to cancer as well. Research shows that around 20% of cancer cases are caused by infectious attacks. For example, one of the most common cancerous infections is HPV or Human Papillomavirus. It is known to develop cervical cancer. 

Stomach cancers are usually the result of long-term ulcers. Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) is the leading reason for ulcers. Hepatitis B and even herpes virus are also known to become cancers if they are not treated promptly and properly. 

5. Genes

Certain cancer types such as breast, colon, pancreatic, ovarian, and uterine pass on to the next generations through mutated genes. Oncogenes are damaged cells containing cancerous DNA. They can grow uncontrollably if you’re not careful. Hence, it’s necessary to go for a DNA exam and see if you carry any cancerous genes. 

It can help you make healthier lifestyle choices and either delay or prevent getting cancer. For example, you might want to skip smoking and alcohol and instead eat a nutritious diet to avoid flicking the “on-switch” on cancer cells.  

Now, this brings us to our next crucial point. 

6. Improper diet

Unarguably, not eating healthy also contributes to cancer. Research reveals that poor eating habits cause about 30% of all cancers. Eating loads of junk foods and greasy titbits along with heavy sodas can lead to gastrointestinal cancers. Consumption of processed foods is linked to cancer cases as well. 

On the bright side, diet-related cancers are preventable. If you get all the necessary nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, carbs, iron, magnesium, etc., you can prevent various diseases. 

7. Obesity

Expanding on the point above, if you eat unhealthy foods every day and have limited to no physical activity, chances are you’ll gain a lot of weight. Obesity, unfortunately, is also a leading cause of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Research shows that obese people are 1.5 times likelier to get pancreatic cancer than those who aren’t. What’s more, 13 major cancer types are solely caused by obesity, amounting to 40% of the cases diagnosed in the US every year. 

Being obese affects your digestion, heart health, and lipid processing. As a result, your hormones get imbalanced. Eventually, you might develop insulin resistance and get internal inflammation, leading to cancer development.


One of the toughest things about cancer is the diagnosis and treatment. Treating cancer could take months and involves painful chemotherapies and radiation sessions. They can cause one to lose their hair and body energy. As a result, they become weak and unable to perform routine tasks. Therefore, it’s only viable to get yourself screened for cancer at the appropriate time. Men and women in the US must go for annual screenings once they reach their 40s. 

Women must undergo mammograms and cervical exams, whereas men should get their prostate examined. This way, most cancerous growths can be diagnosed early, preventing premature mortalities and financial burdens on the families. Additionally, educational institutes need to discuss the causes of cancer on a mass level so younger minds can make healthier decisions.

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