Risk Factors for Cancer: Find How Many You Have

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Although doctors and scientists know the factors that increase risk of cancer in an individual, most of the cancers occur in individual with no known risk factors. This is unfortunate and it indicates that we still do not know the risk factors of cancer correctly and nowhere near knowing them correctly. This is a fact and unfortunately, we can do very little about it. However, it is still important to know the known risk factors of cancer and avoid them if possible. Unfortunately many risk factors cannot be modified, e.g. Age, family history etc.id-100218592

The following are known risk factors for cancer:

  • Age:

In general the more you age, the higher is the risk of developing cancer. Cancer is most common after age of 65 years. However, that does not make children immune to cancer. Certain cancers are known to occur only in children. Cancer is not only a disease of adults, but can occur at any age to anybody, without any known risk factors.

  • Family history:

Certain cancers run in families, although very small numbers are such. In most cases mutation of genes may be passed down from one generation to another. If you have family history of certain cancer, it is best to get genetic checkup done.

  • Habits and lifestyle:

Some lifestyle and habits can increase risk of cancer, such as smoking and drinking alcohol. The number of cigarettes (or some other tobacco products) the greater is the risk and also the longer years you smoke the higher is the risk of developing certain types of lung cancers. Drinking more than one drink per day for women of all ages and men of more than 65 years of age and drinking two or more drinks a day for men below 65 years of age increase risk of cancer. Excess exposure to sun (if you are white or fair skinned, blacks are immune to this) leading to frequent sunburn or blisters in skin, obesity, unsafe sexual practice etc. Are also risk for cancer. All these are modifiable risk factors and one can change these habits and lifestyle. You may be a nonsmoker, but if you live with a smoker and subjected to passive smoking you are also equally at risk of cancer.

  • General health status:

If your general health is not good, you are at risk of cancer. Some chronic health conditions such as ulcerative colitis can increase risk of cancer to a great extent.

  • Environmental factors:

Modern city environment is polluted, which increases risk of cancer. Harmful chemicals around you can increase risk of cancer. Air pollution is a risk factor for not only cancer, but various other respiratory health problems such as allergy, asthma, hay fever etc. If you are exposed to certain chemical at home or workplace you are at risk of cancer. Good examples are exposure to asbestos (workplace of home exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma) and benzene, that lead to cancer among a large percentage of individuals.

Some risk factors cannot be changed (e.g. Age and family history). But most risk factors of cancer can be changed and should be changed to reduce risk of developing cancer. If a family member develops cancer, in most cases the family suffers a huge setback, emotionally as well as economically. Hence, it is time to change the changeable risk factors of cancer.

 

Image courtesy of [stockimages] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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