Genetics is not the only risk factor for cancer. Indeed, up to 50% of all cancers can be prevented.
In the United States, around 40% of all adults will develop cancer in their lifetime. Genetics plays a role, but so do diet and lifestyle. And external factors can impact whether you will develop cancer. These include ultraviolet rays, ionizing radiation, asbestos in old buildings, tobacco use, environmental pollution, alcohol, and some bacteria and viruses.
Cancer gene mutations may be inevitable in some people, but many cancers can be prevented by controlling the external carcinogenic factors and adopting healthier diet and lifestyle practices. In fact, 30% to 50% of cancers around the world can be prevented by avoiding carcinogens and living a healthy lifestyle. Some cancers can be completely prevented by avoiding exposure to certain external carcinogens. Others are primarily due to genetic factors and are less likely to be caused by external carcinogens.
Avoiding external cancer risk factors
Studies in some western countries have shown the impact of external risk factors on cancer induction. An American Cancer Society study of more than 1.57 million U.S. adults over the age of 30 found that 42% of cancer cases were attributable to these risk factors.
In China, the cancer in 47% of male cancer patients and 28% of female cancer patients were linked to external cancer risk factors. In Brazil, 34% of new cancer cases in men and 35% of new cancer cases in women were linked to external cancer risk factors.
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