Cancer Center

Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

Risk Factors
Why one particular person gets cancer, and another does still puzzle researchers. However, there are certain risk factors that make it more likely to get cancer. These include the following:

  • age - growing older
  • alcohol use
  • being overweight
  • hormones
  • exposure to certain chemicals and substances
  • exposure to ionizing radiation
  • exposure to some viruses and bacteria
  • family history of cancer
  • poor diet
  • lack of physical activity
  • sunlight
  • tobacco use

While some of these risk factors cannot be controlled (e.g. growing older), other ones, such as use of tobacco products and exposure to sunlight by tanning, can be controlled. However, just because a particular person has several risk factors (e.g. old, smokes cigarettes, and lack of physical exercise), does not mean that a person will definitely get cancer. These are merely well-known common risk factors for developing cancer; the likelihood of cancer increases if any of these factors are present, but cancer is not guaranteed to exist. It's best to eliminate or reduce exposure to risk factors as much as reasonable.

How do you know if you are experiencing symptoms of cancer? What do you look for? To learn more about the causes and symptoms of cancer, read here for additional information.

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