Although it is usually not possible to know exactly why one person develops cancer and another doesn’t, research has shown that certain risk factors may increase a person’s chances of developing cancer.
Cancer risk factors include exposure to chemicals or other substances, as well as certain behaviors. They also include things people cannot control, like age and family history.
The list below includes the most-studied known or suspected risk factors for cancer.
- Cancer-Causing Substances
- Chronic Inflammation
- Infectious Agents
Although some of these risk factors can be avoided, others—such as growing older—cannot. Limiting your exposure to avoidable risk factors may lower your risk of developing certain cancers.
Women may be especially concerned with Breast Cancer and men may be especially concerned with Prostate Cancer.
Risk factors for breast cancer include age, age at the start of menstruation, age at first live birth, number of first-degree relatives (mother, sisters, daughters) with breast cancer, number of previous breast biopsies (whether positive or negative) and at least one breast biopsy with atypical hyperplasia.
The risk of getting prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65.
Are you concerned with the cancer risk for yourself or a loved one? Request your free subscription to Care Support Network and take our free Cancer Risk Assessments, including our free Breast Cancer Risk Assessment and free Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment.