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Cancer arises from one single cell. The transformation from a normal cell into a tumor cell is a multistage process, typically a progression from a pre-cancerous lesion to malignant tumors. These changes are the result of the interaction between a person's genetic factors and three categories of external agents, including: physical carcinogens, such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation chemical carcinogens, such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant) and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant) biological carcinogens, such as infections from certain viruses, bacteria or parasites.

 
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