Will I Get Cancer?

Cancer is a word that most of us fear the most in terms of our health. It is the one thing that we hope we never hear from our doctors but secretly wonder if we will. We list our risk factors and try to determine the probability of having to face this terrifying prospect. It doesn’t help that cancer is always in the news – cancer deaths, cancer research, and more. It’s a pervasive topic that often only serves to instill more fear in us.

But what are the facts? How probable is it that we will develop cancer in our lifetime?

The numbers are different depending on the type of cancer, and they certainly differ depending on each person’s particular risk factors.

There is no absolute risk – statistics are relative to the amount of risk that can be personally attributed to you. The factors used to determine risk include exposure to carcinogens including both environmental carcinogens and tobacco/chemical exposure, age, lifestyle habits, and family history of certain types of cancer.

Currently speaking, in the United States, men have a 50% chance of developing cancer – that is, one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Women have a one in three risk of developing cancer in their lifetime.

Luckily, there is much that we can do to at least lower our risk of developing cancer including adjusting our diet to one that is low-fat and made up of whole, organic foods, exercising on a regular basis, quitting smoking, and more. Additionally, new and better diagnostic tools are being developed every day. There are also new and better treatment techniques being developed on a regular basis that allow people to live longer, healthier lives and research dollars continue to be spent to help save lives and hopefully one day eradicate cancer altogether.

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