Cancer Center

Risk Assessment

Understanding Cancer Risk Factors

Cancer is a complicated disease which can affect many different areas of the body. Although the causes of many types of cancers are not known, there is proof that certain behaviors and conditions may increase your risk of having cancer.

Risk factors include:

  • Smoking — smoking has been linked to several types of cancer including lung, lip, mouth, esophagus, throat and larynx.
  • Family history — if immediate family members have had breast, colon or stomach cancer, your chance of having these same cancers increases.
  • Sun overexposure — severe sunburns and continuous exposure to the sun without the use of sunscreens has been linked to all forms of skin cancer.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption — research shows that even a moderate amount of alcohol, two drinks a day for men or one drink for women, can increase your risk of mouth, throat, esophagus, kidney, liver and breast cancer.
  • Age — the incidence of certain cancers, including prostate, skin and pancreatic cancer, increases with age.

Take Steps to Lower Your Cancer Risk

Here are seven simple lifestyle changes you can make which may lower your risk of developing cancer.

  1. Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
  2. Increase plant-based food intake and limit fatty foods.
  3. Stay active.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Minimize sun exposure.
  6. Be alert to body changes.
  7. See your physician if you suspect anything. 

For more information about cancer risk factors and prevention tips, visit the American Cancer Society website or call 706) 812-2191.

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