Category FAQs Search : Health

Question: Understanding risk factors of cancer:

Answer: A cancer risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of getting cancer. Yet most risk factors do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer. And others with no known risk factors do.

It is important to know your risk factors and talk about them with your health care team. It will help you make better lifestyle choices to improve your health. This information could also help your doctor decide if you need genetic testing and counseling (see below).

General risk factors for cancer include:

Older age

A personal or family history of cancer

Using tobacco



Some types of viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV)

Specific chemicals

Exposure to radiation, including ultraviolet radiation from the sun

You can avoid some risk factors by stopping risky behaviors. These include using tobacco and alcohol, being overweight, and getting multiple sunburns. Other risk factors cannot be avoided, such as getting older. Learn about the risk factors for certain types of cancer.

(Source: Cancer.Net, 16 Mar 2021)

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