The main risk factors for preventable cancers are smoking, getting too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds, being overweight or obese, and drinking too much alcohol. Age, weight, exposure to carcinogens, and genetics can increase the risk of developing cancer. Learn more about this Did you know? video produced by NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology and Final Results (SEER) program. The following list includes the most studied known or suspected cancer risk factors.
While some of these risk factors can be avoided, others, such as aging, cannot. Limiting exposure to preventable risk factors may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Given all the possibilities, determining the root cause of this or that cancer can be practically impossible. And some types of cancer run in families or are due to age.
The risk of developing a large percentage of preventable cancers can be reduced through certain diet and lifestyle choices. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco can contain up to 70 cancer-causing chemicals. Cigarette smoke isn't just bad for you, it's also bad for those around you. Stop smoking for yourself, your family, and general public health.
Currently, research doesn't indicate that e-cigarettes, vaping, and nicotine cause cancer; however, that could change as more data is collected. Introducing foreign substances into the lungs could promote lung diseases and lung cancer. Our bodies break down alcohol into acetaldehyde, a chemical that attacks cells and prevents the body from repairing damage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of developing 13 types of cancer.
Our bodies need to move to have a strong immune system and to be healthy. Choose exercises or activities that strengthen your strength and increase your aerobic capabilities. Exposure to cancer risk factors is cumulative. While aging isn't a diet or lifestyle choice, it's included because exposing ourselves to multiple risk factors throughout our lives increases our chances of getting cancer.
Improper handling of cancer-causing chemicals can have negative health effects. Always follow warning labels and safety precautions. The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk of cancer. There's no sure way to prevent cancer, but you can help reduce your risk by making healthy choices, such as eating well, staying active, and not smoking.