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Learn More: What are Risk Factors?
While physicians and researchers are unable to identify why some people develop cancer and others do not, certain characteristics or risk factors have been identified. These risk factors, when present, could increase an individual's chance of developing cancer. An important fact to remember about risk factors is that having certain risk factors does not mean that cancer will definitely develop.
Behavioral risk factors
Behavioral risk factors are things you can change. These types of factors include diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption. These can often be reduced by changing certain lifestyle habits. Examples include quitting smoking, exercising more and maintaining a healthy diet.
Environmental risk factors
Things found in your surrounding environment that can elevate risk are called environmental risk factors. Examples of environmental risk factors include sun exposure, secondhand smoke, or exposure to certain hazards such as asbestos, radon and pesticides. An important fact to remember is that continued exposure to these factors can contribute to an increased risk for certain diseases while a one-time exposure often has little to no effect.