The causes of cancer are not fully understood, but years of research
have brought to light risk factors that increase people's chances of
getting particular types of cancer. Some of these risk factors are
innevitable, while others can be avoided by chosing to live a healthy
lifestyle. For example, smoking cigarettes is an avoidable risk factor.
Changing your lifestyle to get rid of unhealthy choices such as smoking
can be difficult to accomplish (tobacco is an addictive drug and
stopping smoking means beating that addiction), but the rewards are
real. Stopping smoking and similar healthy lifestyle changes will not
insure that you never get cancer, but they will reduce your cancer
risk. This is true whether you have never had cancer before, or if you
have previously beaten cancer and are wondering what you can do to
reduce your chances of relapse.
It is important to note that cancer is not a uniform illness, but
rather has many forms. Each specific type of cancer is different and
consequently has a different set of associated risk factors. Detailed
information on specific risk factors for specific types of cancer are
found in our cancer subtype documents.