Everyone either has a friend or a loved one who has — or had — cancer. The disease has become more common than ever, and is thought to be an ailment of modern society, but is it? Why has cancer become so prominent over the years?

In BrainCraft’s latest video, "Why Do So Many People Get Cancer?" host Vanessa Hill explains modern lifestyle issues, such as tobacco smoking, physical inactivity, a poor diet, and a rise in life expectancy increase the susceptibility of being diagnosed with cancer.

The first reported case of the malady came from the ancient Egyptian physician Imhotep in 2625 B.C. He found “bulging masses on the breast, spreading, similar to an unripe fruit; cool and hard to touch,” which describes symptoms typically seen in breast cancer. Abdominal cancer and other tumors have also been found in Egyptian mummies. A large bone tumor that pierced the skin was found in the preserved body of a young woman of the Chiribaya tribe in the Atacama Desert.

It was rare to find records of cancer while people were concerned with other illnesses like the plague, influenza, tuberculosis, and smallpox. Although cancer was around, people rarely lived that long to develop it, and practitioners couldn't define it perfectly.

However, in 1900, cancer became the eighth most common cause of death in the U.S. By 1950, life expectancy had increased 21 years, and cancer became the second cause of death, just behind today's leading cause of death, heart disease. The risk of developing cancer increases with age. For example, men up to 49 years old have a 1 in 304 chance of getting prostate cancer. By the time they hit 70, it's a 1 in 9 chance.

The increase in diagnoses has also led to an increase in survival rates. In 2013, The American Cancer Society reported that death rates had fallen by 20 percent from their peak 20 years prior. This is due to progress in cancer education, screening, diagnosis, and treatment.

Moreover, many cancers can still be prevented. In 2010, almost 1.5 million of the eight million cancer deaths around the world were caused by tobacco smoking. Lifestyle factors, including people being overweight, obese, and physically inactive or having a poor diet, contributes to more than 20 percent of cancer cases worldwide.

The combination of an increased life expectancy and lifestyle factors influence disease rates. So, stand up to cancer to take control of your own life.