At least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. Cancer prevention is taking action to lower the chance of getting cancer.
Factors that are known to increase the risk of cancer
- Cigarette smoking and tobacco use is the single greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer mortality worldwide, causing an estimated 22% of cancer deaths per year.
- Tobacco smoking causes many types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach and cervix. About 70% of the lung cancer burden can be attributed to smoking alone.
- Infections, certain viruses and bacteria are able to cause cancer. Examples are: Human papillomavirus (HPV) increase the risk for cancer of the cervix, penis, vagina, anus and oropharynx; Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C increase the risk for liver cancer; Epstein-Barr virus increases the risk for Burkitt lymphoma; Helicobacter pylori increase the risk for gastric cancer.
- Radiation, there are two types of radiation linked with an increased risk for cancer. Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and tanning beds and Ionizing radiation from medical equipment such as x-rays, CT scans, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine scans and radon gas in homes. The risk of cancer from radiation depends on age and the number of exposures to radiation.
Factors that may affect the risk of cancer
- Physical activity, dietary factors, obesity and environmental all play a role in cancer control. Regular physical activity and the maintenance of a healthy body weight, along with a healthy diet will considerably reduce cancer risk. There is a link between overweight and obesity to many types of cancer such as esophagus, colorectum, breast, endometrium and kidney. Diet high in fruits and vegetable may have a protective effect against many cancers. Studies have shown drinking alcohol is linked to an increase in some cancers.
- Being exposed to chemical and other substances in the environment has been linked to some cancers, environmental factors with a link to cancer: air pollution, asbestos and drinking water that contain large amount s of arsenic.
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