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[ANSWERED 2023] What is the relationship of environment and cancers? Describe the effect of tobacco, alcohol

Last Updated on March 10, 2023 by Admin

What is the relationship of environment and cancers? Describe the effect of tobacco, alcohol, radiation exposure, and diet and obesity to carcinogenesis.

What is the relationship of environment and cancers? Describe the effect of tobacco, alcohol, radiation exposure, and diet and obesity to carcinogenesis

Expert Answer and Explanation

The environment comprises different components that can affect the nature in which different aspects of care are addressed. One of the main factors that can be identified from the environment is how it affects and relates to cancers. The environment can play a significant role in the development of cancer (Molina-Montes et al., 2020). Various environmental factors such as exposure to carcinogenic substances, radiation, lifestyle choices, and diet can increase the risk of cancer development.

For instance, tobacco use is a significant cause of cancer. Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products can increase the risk of developing lung, throat, mouth, bladder, and pancreatic cancer, among others. Secondhand smoke exposure can also increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of cancer development (Molina-Montes et al., 2020). Chronic alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing liver, mouth, throat, breast, and colon cancer. The risk of developing cancer increases with the amount of alcohol consumed and the duration of consumption.

Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as medical imaging tests, can increase the risk of cancer development. High levels of radiation exposure, such as those experienced during nuclear accidents, can significantly increase the risk of cancer development. Diet and obesity are also important factors in cancer development (Ohira et al., 2019).

Consuming a diet high in processed and red meat, and saturated fats, and low in fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of developing cancer. Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of developing many types of cancer, including breast, colon, and kidney cancer (Ohira et al., 2019). In summary, various environmental factors such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, radiation exposure, and diet and obesity can increase the risk of cancer development. It is essential to take steps to reduce exposure to these risk factors to help prevent cancer development.


Molina-Montes, E., Van Hoogstraten, L., Gomez-Rubio, P., Löhr, M., Sharp, L., Molero, X., … & Malats, N. (2020). Pancreatic cancer risk in relation to lifetime smoking patterns, tobacco type, and dose–response relationships. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention29(5), 1009-1018.

Ohira, T., Ohtsuru, A., Midorikawa, S., Takahashi, H., Yasumura, S., Suzuki, S., … & Fukushima Health Management Survey group. (2019). External radiation dose, obesity, and risk of childhood thyroid cancer after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident: The Fukushima Health Management Survey. Epidemiology30(6), 853-860.

What is the relationship of environment and cancers? Describe the effect of tobacco, alcohol, radiation exposure, and diet and obesity to carcinogenesis

Alternative Expert Answer

Understanding the relationship between cancer and environmental advances preventative measures and curative research. What is cancer proliferation and how does the patient’s environment affect cancer cell development and proliferation? According to Rote (2018) when cells mutate and spread in the body serving no biologic function, these abnormal cells are cancerous. Abnormal cell development occurs because of genetic and epigenetic causes (Tam & Weinberg, 2013).

Whereas patients have no control over genetic factors like gene mutation, nurses can leverage their understanding of epigenetic causes to promote behavioral / lifestyle and environmental changes to prevent cancer. Per Colditz and Sutcliffe (2016) a prime example is encouraging HPV vaccines to prevent cervical cancer. This discussion will focus on the following epigenetic causes of cancer: (i) tobacco, (ii) alcohol, (iii) radiation exposure, and (iv) diet and obesity.

  • Tobacco and carcinogenesis 

There are more than 7000 different carcinogenic chemicals in cigarette smoke and smokeless tobacco products (McCance et al., 2018). These chemicals cause carcinogenesis by creating adducts that covalently bond to human DNA. Consequently, cell structure is damages, cellular self-repair is thwarted, and mutation occurs in the human genome (Jethwa & Khariwala, 2017; The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2020).

Per Jethwa and Khariwala (2017) these carcinogenic chemicals account for 70-80% of all newly diagnosed head and neck squamous cell carcinomas – HNSCC. A significant number of HNSCC can be prevented through avoidance of tobacco and tobacco related products. In addition, McCance et al., (2018) reveal that 60% of colorectal and 80-90% of smoke-related lung and oral cancer can be prevented through lifestyle changes and behavior modification.

  • Alcohol consumption and cancer 

Classified as a human carcinogenic by the International Agency for Cancer Research, alcohol acts as a solvent for many carcinogenic chemicals in tobacco increasing the risk for malignancy (Ratna & Mandrekar, 2017; McCance et al., 2018). Acetaldehyde in alcohol also drives cancer progression (Ratna & Mandrekar, 2017; McCance et al., 2018).

Similarly, a study by Che-Hong et al. (2022) found that a synchronous ALDH2*2 mutation and alcohol consumption accelerated upper digestive tract cancer initiation and progression. A study by Burton and Sheron (2018) reveals that there is no safe limit for alcohol consumption which presents a challenge in patient education since alcohol is immersed in many social and religious traditions. Other cancers that have been directly linked to alcohol consumption include cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, digestive organs, respiratory systems, and breast cancer (McCance et al., 2018).

  • Radiation exposure and carcinogenesis 

At the cellular level, exposure to ionized radiation is quite detrimental. It induces gene mutation, chromosomal aberrancies, cellular death or apoptosis and cellular deterioration or senescence which contribute to carcinogenesis (Piotrowski et al., 2017; McCance et al., 2018). People can be exposed to radiation at home, in the sun or tanning bed, at the workplace, or during prescribed medical interventions.

Whereas broad consensus prevails on the aberrant effects of high dose ionized radiation, the scientific community disagrees on the carcinogenic effects of low dose ionized radiation (Piotrowski et al., 2017). Radiation exposure causes cancer of the salivary gland; digestive organs, respiratory organ, skin and bone cancers, brain and central nervous system, leukemia and more (McCance et al., 2018).

  • Obesity and cancer 

Diet, activity, and body weight contribute to cancer (McCance et al., 2018). Nutritional deficiencies that rise from abnormal metabolism of folate and retinoids have an immunosuppressive effect and genotoxic – causing aberrant DNA patterns – that drive cancer progression in the human body (Ratna & Mandrekar, 2017; McCance et al., 2018).

Jianmin et al.’s (2021) study revealed that high fat diets have an immunosuppressive effect on cells directly contributing to oral squamous cell carcinogenesis. Even more, Jianmin et al. (2021) noted an increased aggressiveness of cancer in obese individuals. How obesity causes cancer is unclear – some investigations focus on finding out of obesity itself drives cancer while other research ponders the link between too much energy consumed versus too little energy expended in obese individuals (McCance et al., 2018).

Cancer prevention would eliminate the need for cancer treatments which have limitations. Understanding the relationship between cancer and epigenetic causes such as tobacco, alcohol, radiation exposure, and diet and obesity provides nurses with evidence-based preventative tools for public health education and instruction.


Burton, R., & Sheron, N. (2018). No level of alcohol consumption improves health. The Lancet, 392(10152), 987-988.

Che-Hong, C., Wen-Lun, W., Ming-Hung H., & Mochly-Rosen, D. (2022). Alcohol consumption, ALDH2*2 polymorphism as risk factors for upper aerodigestive tract cancer progression and prognosis. Life, 12(3), 348.

Colditz, G. A., & Sutcliffe, S. (2016). The preventability of cancer: Stacking the deck. JAMA Oncology, 2(9), 1131-1133.

Jethwa, A. R., & Khariwala, S. S. (2017). Tobacco-related carcinogenesis in head and neck cancer. Cancer and Metastasis Reviews, 36(3), 411-423.

Jianmin, P., Qinchao, H., Chen, X., Wang, C., Zhang, J., Xianyue, R., Wang, Y., Xiaoan, T., Li, H., Song, M., Cheng, B., Wu, T., & Xia, J. (2021). Diet-induced obesity accelerates oral carcinogenesis by recruitment and functional enhancement of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Cell Death and Disease, 12(10)

McCance, K.L., Grey, T. C., & George, W. R. (2018). Chapter 2 – Altered cellular and tissue biology: environmental agents. In K. L. McCance & S. E. Huether, (Eds.), Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (pp. ). Mosby.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (2020, September 2). Carcinogen-DNA adduct formation and DNA repair. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.,negatively%20charged%20moieties%20in%20DNA.

Piotrowski, I., Kulcenty, K., Suchorska, W. M., Skrobała, A., Skórska, M., Kruszyna-Mochalska, M., Kowalik, A., Jackowiak, W., & Malicki, J. (2017). Carcinogenesis induced by low-dose radiation. Radiology and Oncology, 51(4), 369-377.

Ratna, A., & Mandrekar, P. (2017). Alcohol and cancer: Mechanisms and therapies. Biomolecules, 7(3), 61.

Rote, N. S. (2018). Chapter 12 – Cancer biology. In K. L. McCance & S. E. Huether, (Eds.), Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (pp. 550-599). Mosby.

Tam, W. L., & Weinberg, R. A. (2013). The epigenetics of epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity in cancer. Nature Medicine, 19(11), 1438-1449.

Module 1 Assignment

Assignment Description:

Create a presentation addressing all of the following topics:

  • Describe the mechanisms that confine cells and tissues to a specific anatomic site
  • Discuss four types of cellular adaptations
  • Compare and contrast necrosis and apoptosis

This PowerPoint® (Microsoft Office) or Impress® (Open Office) presentation should be a minimum of 15 slides (maximum of 20 slides), including a title, introduction, conclusion and reference slide, with detailed speaker notes and recorded audio comments for all content slides. Use the audio recording feature with the presentation software. Use at least four (4) scholarly sources and make certain to review the module’s rubric before starting your presentation.

Grading Rubric

Does Not Meet 0%
Approaches 70%
Meets 80%
Exceeds 100%
Criterion Score
Content/Quality of Information Weight: 40%
0 points

Topic is inappropriate to assignment, not based on scholarly information (if required), unclear and difficult to understand, no hyperlinks to credible sites; did not include required assignment components; slide notes missing (if required).



28 points

Topic is mostly covered and appropriate to assignment, but not based on scholarly information (if required); mostly clear and understandable; may contain hyperlinks to non-credible sites; some of required assignment components are present; minimal use of slide notes (if required).



32 points

Good coverage of topic and appropriate to assignment; sound, research-based (if required) information; clear and understandable; hyperlinks to credible sites; all required assignment components are accurate and present; slide notes used appropriately (if required).



40 points

In-depth coverage of topic and assignment components; outstanding clarity of information; detailed slide notes ensure all required content is well explained (if required).



Score of Content/Quality of Information Weight: 40%,

/ 40

Presentation Weight: 20%
0 points

Unattractive; difficult to interpret; poor color choice and slide contrast; slide presentation unorganized; slide effects detract from the content; missing slide headings or sub-headings (if required for organization purposes); missing title/reference slides.



14 points

Attractive but somewhat difficult to interpret; somewhat pleasing contrast between text and background, slide presentation may be somewhat disorganized; transitions and slide effects detract from the content; may be missing title or reference slides; included slide headings/sub-headings may detract from presentation.



16 points

Attractive; easy to interpret, pleasing colors with strong contrast between text and background, slide presentation organized, good use of transitions and slide effects which enhance the presentation; both title and reference slides are present. Slide headings/sub-headings are used appropriately to organize the presentation.



20 points

Excellent use of transitions and effects that enhance the presentation. Presentation is organized and designed for maximum impact of content.



Score of Presentation Weight: 20%,

/ 20

Use of Multimedia, Graphics, Diagrams, and/or Illustrations Weight: 30%
0 points

Does not include required multimedia, graphics, diagrams, and/or illustrations or they are irrelevant to topic or detract from slide content or presentation as a whole.



21 points

Required multimedia, graphics, diagrams, and/or illustrations are generally relevant but some may not appropriately support the slide content.



24 points

Required multimedia, graphics, diagrams, and/or illustrations are highly relevant and acceptably support the slide content; sized and positioned appropriately.



30 points

Required multimedia, graphics, diagrams, and/or illustrations add clarity and sophistication to the presentation content; they improve the effectiveness of the presentation.



Score of Use of Multimedia, Graphics, Diagrams, and/or Illustrations Weight: 30%,

/ 30

Writing, Mechanics, and APA Weight: 10%
0 points

Style is inappropriate or does not address given audience, purpose, etc. Inconsistent grammar, spelling, and punctuation; APA format and style are not evident throughout the presentation.



7 points

Style is somewhat appropriate to given audience and purpose. Repetitive mechanical errors distract the reader. Inconsistencies in language, sentence structure, and/or word choice are present. There are missing APA elements or some are incorrectly formatted throughout the presentation.  



8 points

Style is appropriate to the given audience and purpose. Word choice is specific and purposeful, and somewhat varied throughout. Minimal mechanical or typographical errors are present, but are not overly distracting. Reference slide and in-text citations have few formatting errors.



10 points

Style shows originality and creativity. Word choice is dynamic and varied. Free of mechanical and typographical errors.  Reference slide and other in-text citations are formatted correctly using APA elements.



Score of Writing, Mechanics, and APA Weight: 10%,

/ 10


Score of Graduate PowerPoint Assignment Rubric v1, / 100

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Four environmental factors that cause cancer

Cancer is a complex disease that can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic mutations and environmental factors. Here are four environmental factors that are known to increase the risk of cancer:

  1. Exposure to carcinogens: Exposure to certain chemicals and substances in the environment can cause DNA damage, leading to mutations that can contribute to the development of cancer. Carcinogens include tobacco smoke, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, radon gas, asbestos, and some chemicals used in industry and agriculture.
  2. Air pollution: Exposure to air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. Air pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide can cause inflammation and oxidative stress, which can lead to DNA damage and mutations.
  3. Poor diet: A diet that is high in processed and red meats, saturated fats, and refined sugars, and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, has been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including colon, pancreatic, and breast cancer.
  4. Lifestyle factors: Several lifestyle factors, such as lack of physical activity, obesity, and excessive alcohol consumption, have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. These factors can cause inflammation and oxidative stress, which can lead to DNA damage and mutations that contribute to the development of cancer.
 Most cancer causing agents are?

There are many cancer-causing agents, also known as carcinogens, in our environment. Some of the most common carcinogens include:

  1. Tobacco: Tobacco smoke contains more than 70 known carcinogens, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrosamines. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, but it is also linked to many other types of cancer, such as bladder, pancreatic, and kidney cancer.
  2. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation: UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds can cause DNA damage and mutations that can lead to skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
  3. Radon gas: Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally occurring in soil and rocks. When it seeps into buildings, it can accumulate to dangerous levels and increase the risk of lung cancer.
  4. Asbestos: Asbestos is a group of minerals that were widely used in construction and other industries before their health hazards were recognized. Asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers when inhaled.
  5. Certain chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and vinyl chloride, can increase the risk of leukemia and other types of cancer.
  6. Viruses: Certain viruses, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B and C viruses, and Epstein-Barr virus, can cause cancer by integrating their DNA into host cells and altering their genetic material.

How many mutations are required to cause cancer?

The number of mutations required to cause cancer can vary depending on the type of cancer and the individual. Cancer is typically caused by the accumulation of multiple genetic mutations or alterations that affect the normal functioning of cells, leading to uncontrolled growth and division.

It’s estimated that cancer cells may have between 10 and 100 mutations that contribute to the development of the disease. However, not all of these mutations are necessarily required to cause cancer, and the specific mutations that are required can vary depending on the type of cancer.

Some cancers, such as those caused by viruses, may require fewer mutations to develop, while other cancers may require a larger number of mutations that accumulate over time.

It’s important to note that not all mutations lead to cancer and many mutations occur naturally as cells divide and replicate. Some mutations can be repaired by the body’s DNA repair mechanisms, while others may accumulate and increase the risk of cancer over time.

How do carcinogens cause cancer?

Carcinogens are substances or agents that can cause cancer by damaging the DNA in cells. Carcinogens can be classified into two categories: genotoxic and non-genotoxic.

Genotoxic carcinogens directly damage the DNA in cells by causing mutations or breaks in the DNA strands. This can disrupt the normal functioning of the cell and lead to uncontrolled growth and division, which can ultimately result in the development of cancer.

Non-genotoxic carcinogens can cause cancer through indirect mechanisms, such as by altering the way cells divide, increasing inflammation, or disrupting the immune system. These effects can lead to the accumulation of DNA damage and mutations over time, increasing the risk of cancer.

Carcinogens can cause different types of DNA damage, including point mutations, deletions, and chromosomal rearrangements, which can affect the function of important genes involved in cell growth and division. Some carcinogens can also cause epigenetic changes, which can alter the way genes are expressed without changing the DNA sequence.

The effects of carcinogens on cells can vary depending on the type and amount of exposure, the individual’s genetic susceptibility, and other environmental factors. It’s important to minimize exposure to known carcinogens to reduce the risk of developing cancer. This can involve taking measures such as avoiding tobacco smoke, limiting exposure to UV radiation, and using protective equipment in the workplace.

Cancer causing chemicals in food

There are several chemicals in food that are known or suspected to have carcinogenic properties. These chemicals can be naturally occurring or added to food during processing or cooking. Here are a few examples:

  1. Acrylamide: Acrylamide is a chemical that forms when starchy foods, such as potatoes, bread, and coffee, are cooked at high temperatures. It is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) based on animal studies.
  2. Aflatoxins: Aflatoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by certain molds that can contaminate crops such as peanuts, corn, and soybeans. They are classified as a human carcinogen by the IARC and have been linked to liver cancer.
  3. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): PAHs are a group of chemicals that are formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures, such as grilling or barbecuing. They are also found in cigarette smoke and air pollution. Some PAHs are classified as probable human carcinogens by the IARC.
  4. Nitrites and nitrates: Nitrites and nitrates are added to processed meats, such as bacon, ham, and hot dogs, to preserve their color and flavor. They can form nitrosamines in the body, which are classified as probable human carcinogens by the IARC.
  5. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs): HCAs are formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures, such as grilling, broiling, or frying. They are classified as probable human carcinogens by the IARC.

While these chemicals are found in some foods, it’s important to note that the risk of cancer from consuming them is relatively low compared to other lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of physical activity, and obesity. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and minimizing consumption of processed and red meats can help reduce the risk of cancer.

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