Some generalized risk factors make an individual more prone to cancer. The generalized risk factors include older age, individual with a prior medical history or family history of cancer, tobacco users, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, some viral infections, like human papillomavirus (HPV), exposure to specific chemicals, exposure to radiation, including ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
But apart from these risk factors, some individuals are more prone to develop cancer than other people. Some faulty lifestyle practices and environmental exposures influence cancer development in some people. However, not all exposed individuals will develop cancer. Therefore, understanding the factors which make an individual susceptible to cancer can help to improve the ability to prevent and treat cancer. Molecular epidemiologic studies had identified certain environmental carcinogens such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and aromatic amines.
A complex genetic trait involves cancer susceptibility. Researchers expected that genetic variation has an impact on cancer susceptibility. Faulty mutation in a single gene can cause the incidence of a few cancers. But the exact detection of genetic variation requires a large population to generate data along with advanced computational tools as well as economic methods to sequence genomes. Medical advancements have discovered innovative tools and cutting-edge methods to detect the subtle differences in the genes that can play a role in the increased susceptibility of certain individuals. However, it is a long way to go for the detection of genetic variations that augment or alleviate cancer risk.
Most of us are well tolerated on exposure to certain environmental factors like ultraviolet light from the sun, X-rays, and various chemicals. But these substances cause genetic mutation and lead to cancer in some individuals. Therefore, similar to unraveling how the environmental factors increase the cancer risk, it is necessary to explore the complex effects of our genes on cancer development. Research on genetic factors has many ethical issues that discourage the revealing of data. However, new molecular evidence which is based on specific groups of characteristics predisposes genetic traits or ethnicity and revealed that very young, and women may have a higher risk to develop cancer from certain carcinogenic exposures.
Analyzing how genetic variation impacts susceptibility needs a complete picture of cancer cells. But along with this, more detailed research requires in the future to explore the genes that outline the immune system and tumor microenvironment. Researchers need to determine which elements permit exaggeration of cancer cells or help keep them to stay in a form to progress.
Understanding the molecular basis of susceptibility and prediction of individual factors in developing certain cancers are the two key areas to know the details of cancer susceptibility. An interesting example is a microbiome that mingles with human cells and play important role in metabolic functioning. The microbiome composition differs greatly from individual to individual and maybe a modulated factor contributed in the genome to make cancer susceptibility for an individual.
Risk factor assessments and identification of the most aggressive forms of cancer are also needed to understand for minimizing the risk and implementing appropriate treatment. Detail understanding of genetic and environmental risk factors will also provide important indications in terms of the biological processes that clarify tumor development, and progression, and help to build a new treatment strategy to treat cancer in near future.