Ugh. No one really knows why cancer grows in certain people. Most people don’t usually associate cancer with teens. Cancer is more common in adults, so it’s likely that you know someone who has had it, such as an older relative or someone in a friend’s family. But teens can get some types of cancer, too.
Scientists and researchers are working to discover why some people get cancer and others do not. This will help them to learn whether cancer can be prevented.
Doctors do have some ideas about why people may get cancer, though. The main reasons are genetics and certain environmental or behavioral triggers.
The tendency to develop some types of cancer is believed to be inherited — that is, the genes you were born with might carry a predisposition for cancer. For example, if a close relative has had cancer of the breast or the colon, you may be more likely to inherit the tendency to develop those cancers, even though you may never actually get them.
Some behavioral and environmental triggers can cause changes in the body’s cells that push them into a cancerous state. For example, cigarettes are known to increase the risk of lung cancer. Too much exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer. These types of triggers act on the body slowly over time, so the cancers that may result from them don’t show up until a person is an adult. That’s one reason why teens don’t get the same types of cancers as adults do.
Doctors do know for sure that cancer itself is not contagious, so you don’t have to worry about catching it from someone else or spreading it to another person (although people with certain infectious diseases such as AIDS or hepatitis are more vulnerable to certain cancers).
Cancer is also never a person’s fault. It’s simply not true that a person may have done something wrong to get the disease.
Learn more about cancer and how it’s treated at the Hyundai Cancer Institute website.