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A risk factor is anything that raises or lowers your chances of getting a disease. Some risk factors, such as lifestyle choices, are within your control. Genetics, and/or a family history of cancer, are risk factors over which you have no control.

Lifestyle risk factors include diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, and exercise—all of which can impact your chances of getting cancer.

Environmental risk factors include exposure to carcinogens in the atmosphere, at home, or at the workplace, and second-hand smoke.

Another disease or medical problem can weaken your immune system and become a risk factor for cancer.

Some people are more sensitive to risk factors than others. Just because you have one or even several risk factors does not necessarily mean you will succumb to cancer. Just as a healthy lifestyle with no other risk factors will not guarantee that you will remain cancer-free. However, the more you know about risk factors the more you can avoid unhealthy choices that may lead to cancer.

To learn more about risk factors for specific cancers, click on the links below.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
Risk Factors for Colorectal cancer
Risk Factors for Lung Cancer
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

 
 
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