Factors That Can Cause You to Be More Vulnerable to Cancer

There are many different types of cancer and they each have complex causes. Understanding common factors that can cause cancer can help you understand different ways you may be at risk. Some factors are outside your control, but others can be avoided.

Lifestyle Choices

Your lifestyle can have a major impact on whether or not you develop cancer. In fact, many cancers are actually preventable with lifestyle changes. You are more at risk for cancer if you are overweight or obese. Losing weight may be necessary for you to avoid developing cancer as well as many other diseases. An active lifestyle can also help prevent the development of cancer. Many substances have also been linked to cancer. It is well known that smoking is a common cause of lung cancer. You may also develop cancer if you consume a lot of alcohol or use other substances. Making healthy choices in your daily life can help protect you from cancer.

Family History

Unfortunately, you may be more at risk of cancer if your family has a history of cancer. There is a more significant chance if a parent or sibling has had cancer compared to more distant relatives. If your family has a history of cancer, you should understand when members of your family were diagnosed and what type of cancer they had. Knowing your family history can help you determine what tests you should take and what actions can help you reduce your risk. Discuss your history with your doctor and they can help you determine what actions to take.  

Poor Diet

The way you eat greatly impacts your health. If you have a poor diet, you can be more at risk for cancer. It’s important to have a balanced diet that includes healthy amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber, dairy, meats, fats, and sugar. Many people consume far too much sugar, meats, and processed foods. Some foods, such as red meat, can have carcinogenic effects in the body and can directly influence your cancer risk. Eating too much sugar indirectly puts you at risk because it can lead to more weight gain. As mentioned, being overweight or obese can increase your risk of cancer. For your benefit, you should make an effort to consume more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and reduce the amount of sugar and meat you eat.

Your Occupation

The nature of your job can also influence how vulnerable you are to cancer. There are many different ways you may be affected. UV exposure often leads to skin cancer and there are many jobs that lead to increased UV exposure. This includes lifeguards, pilots, and farmers. It’s important to take preventative measures in the workplace. If you farm for a living, tractor canopies can prevent skin cancer by shielding you from the sun. Some jobs also expose you to chemicals and other substances that are carcinogens and can lead to cancer. You can also be at risk by simply working a desk job. Most desk jobs are very sedentary which can lead to you being less active and gaining weight. Both of which put you at risk.

Your Environment

There are many substances and chemicals in your environment that can put you at risk. These types of substances are called carcinogens and they are a known cause of cancer. An example of one is asbestos which can be found in homes as well as other buildings and products. Exposure to asbestos can cause many respiratory problems but it can also cause cancers such as mesothelioma. You can also be at risk if you are exposed to a great deal of radiation. This can be sustained over time or in a single instance. You should make yourself aware of common carcinogens in your environment so you can know if you are at risk.

Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal process in the body. Typically, it occurs after an injury, and it helps during the healing process and then it goes away. However, there are cases of chronic inflammation where inflammation does not go away after healing or it occurs without an injury at all. Too much inflammation can lead to changes in your DNA which puts you more at risk for certain cancers. For example, individuals with Crohn disease, which is an inflammatory disease, are at risk for colon cancer. If you experience chronic inflammation or have an inflammatory disease, you should try to understand how you may be impacted.


Your hormones are an essential part of the processes within your body. However, if there is a disruption in hormones it can increase your cancer risk. Estrogen, the female sex hormone, is commonly associated with many female cancers including breast cancer. Often, the risk is increased if you are exposed to too much estrogen. For example, if you undergo certain hormone therapies or take any medication that increases your estrogen level you can be more at risk. It’s important to understand the relationship between hormones and cancer when considering new treatments, medications, or therapies.

Compromised Health

There are many things that can increase your risk of cancer, and this includes having poor or compromised health. For example, having a disease which compromises your immune system can put you more at risk. If your immune system is weakened, your body may not be able to fight off cancer-causing infections. You are also more at risk if you are exposed to certain viruses or bacteria. Many of these viruses and bacteria can inhibit cell communication and cell growth. You can’t always control whether or not you contract a disease, but you should still be aware of how it may put you at risk.

Cancer is a very devastating illness. It can be long lasting and painful in many cases and it is not only hard on the patient but on their friends and families. Being aware of the risk factors of cancer can help you take action now. You can make changes to your lifestyle and get yourself tested if you know you are at risk.

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