34 of the most dangerous things science has strongly linked to cancer

Elaine Thompson/AP

  • All cancers are a result of damage or genetic mutations in our DNA.
  • But the many reasons individual cancer cases pop up in people are complex. Some are genetic and passed down from one generation to the next, and others are a result of things in our environment that we inhale, eat, or use.

Cancer is the second-most-common cause of death in the United States, after heart disease.

It fundamentally affects the way our cells grow and divide, changing them in perverse ways. All cancer is a result of damage or genetic mutations in our DNA. The debilitating class of diseases spreads through a body like an invading army as toxic cells grow relentlessly into unruly tumors.

Some cases of cancer are out of our control, determined by genetic defects and predispositions passed down from one generation to the next, or spurred by genetic changes we undergo through our lifetimes.

But we also know that breathing in certain substances, eating specific things, and even using some kinds of plastics ups the risk of developing some deadly cancers.

Here are some known carcinogens — cancer-causers — and a few more things that scientists are zeroing in on as prime suspects.

Read more: 34 of the most dangerous things science has strongly linked to cancer

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