An adolescent with leukemia asked the nurse what carcinogens are. The nurse correctly answers the patient by explaining that carcinogens are factors associated with cancer causation such as:


•Radiation is a carcinogen that includes ionizing radiation from cosmic rays and radioactive minerals such as radon gas, radium, and uranium.

•Tobacco is a chemical carcinogen, linked not only with lung cancer but also with oropharyngeal, bladder, pancreatic, cervical and kidney cancers.

•Viruses are strongly associated with cancer as they infect the cell at some point causing genetic damage to the cell's DNA, and leading to the development of cancer.

•Cytokines are substances secreted by the immune system cells, usually to send messages to other immune cells.

•Tumor markers are chemicals in the blood that are produced by certain cancers.

•Carcinoma in situ is the earliest stage of cancer, in which the tumor is still confined to a local area.

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