What are the Most Common Cancer Risk Factors?

February 8, 2023

Cancer is basically caused when changes take place in a cell’s DNA. These changes are also referred to as mutations, and they can cause the affected cells to grow without any control. These cells are then known as cancerous cells and can then invade body tissues or crowd out the healthy cells. There are many causes of cancer, with the common ones including infections, frequent contact with cancer-causing substances, radiation, and even genetics. 

If you know the risk factors associated with cancer, it is possible to prevent this disease in many scenarios. At My Cancer Journey, we would like to provide helpful insights into the most common cancer-causing risk factors so that you can avoid this disease to the best of your abilities.

Common Cancer Risk Factors

It is not possible to tell with accuracy why one individual develops cancer while another one doesn’t. Still, research shows that some risk factors increase the chances of someone developing this disease. Here is a list o the most suspected and studied cancer risk factors that you should know of. While some of these factors are available, others aren’t. It is recommended to avoid exposure to avoidable factors to lower your chances of developing cancers.

The common risk factors are as follows:

  • Age
  • Diet
  • Alcohol
  • Hormones
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Certain substances
  • Obesity
  • Immunosuppression
  • Sunlight
  • Infectious agents
  • Tobacco
  • Radiation


Environmental Factors

Your environment can increase your chances of developing cancer. When you come in contact with carcinogens, your chances of developing cancer increase significantly. These substances may be found at home, workplace, or anywhere outdoors. Examples of such substances include tobacco, asbestos, and benzene present in gasoline and pollution.


Infections you already have may also increase your risk of developing cancer. Certain virtual infections can affect the DNA in ways that cause mutations. Some types of infections cause long-term inflammation, which is also a cancer risk factor. Then, there are infections that affect the immune system.

Exposure to radiation

Exposure to sunlight increases your exposure to harmful UV rays. This is the most common form of radiation exposure. Radon gas can also cause radiation exposure. It is present in the soil in certain areas. Medical imaging is another source of radiation exposure. 


Studies show that in up to 10% of cancer patients, a family cancer syndrome is a cause. If you have a history of cancer in your family, it is important to take extra precautions. Breast cancer is one of the most common examples of such cancer. Since genetic tests are available for certain forms of cancers, it is recommended to get tested in time. It is important to realize that a family history of cancer only increases the risk and is not a certainty that you will develop the disease.

Lifestyle Factors

There are a number of lifestyle risk factors that can also increase your risk of cancer. Examples include a lack of physical activity, smoking, or use of tobacco in any way, alcohol consumption, and a diet containing high amounts of processed meats, refined carbohydrates, red meat, and sugar-based beverages.


If you want to learn more about cancer risk factors, feel free to get in touch with us at My Cancer Journey. You can give us a call at 737.307.0077 or write to us.

MyCancerJourney is a comprehensive patient navigation service paired with a proprietary data and analytics platform that powers treatment decision support for patients.
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