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What are Carcinogens ?

What are Carcinogens ?

When the genetic blueprint or the cells of the DNA undergo changes, it leads to development of cancer. Many times such changes are inherited through parents while in most of the cases, exposure to external environment and surroundings can lead to formation of cancerous cells in the body. Some such environmental factors that can form carcinogens include:

Cancerous cells in the body

  • Lifestyle (use of tobacco, lack of nutrition, physical activity)
  • Exposure to natural components such as infectious agents, ultraviolet light, radon gas and more
  • Medical treatments such as hormone drugs, immunity suppressing drugs, chemotherapy etc
  • Household exposures
  • Workplace exposures
  • Pollution

Exposures and substances that ultimately lead to development of cancer are known as carcinogens. The carcinogens can affect the DNA directly or indirectly. For example in rare cases, cells divide very fast than the normal rate due to which the DNA changes quickly promoting the development of cancerous cells.

Do Carcinogens Lead to Cancer?

Each carcinogen has varying capacity to cause cancer. Hence, not all the substances that come under the bracket of carcinogens lead to cancer. Some carcinogens cause cancer after delayed period or only on high exposure. Again the chances of cancer development also depends upon other factors such as ways in which the person is exposed to the carcinogen, intensity and duration of exposure and the genetic makeup and immunity level of the person.

Which are the Carcinogenic Foods?

Unlike the popular belief, only unhealthy habits do not cause cancer. Even regular foods, that come under the bracket of healthy food options can contain carcinogenic agents. Use of artificial substances, chemicals and additives to increase the shelf life of the foods and for flavoring can make these foods dangerous for life.

Here are some of the carcinogenic foods:

  • Non-organic fruit and vegetables
  • Processed meats
  • Genetically modified produce
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Soda
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Microwave Popcorn
  • Diet Colas/Artificially Sweetened Drinks
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Farmed-Raised Salmon
  • Potato Chips
  • Cured Food
  • Peanut

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