10 Risk Factors of Cancer and How to Reduce Them

Environmental Risk Factors

Environmental factors may be just as important as genetic factors for cancer. For example, Japanese men and women who leave Japan and settle in Hawaii or the continental United States have a lower risk of stomach cancer than those who remain in Japan. Stomach cancer in the United States has been steadily decreasing with the advent of refrigeration and the consequent removal of carcinogenic chemicals as food preservatives.

Air pollution may be a risk factor for cancer, especially lung cancer. Those living in cities encounter many sources of pollution. More people in cities smoke cigarettes than in rural areas. Carcinogens derived from car emissions, industrial activity, burning of solid wastes and fuels remain in the air from four to forty days and thereby travel long distances. And asbestos, a potent carcinogen, can also be found airborne in cities.

Our drinking water contains a number of carcinogens, including asbestos, arsenic, metals, and synthetic organic compounds. Asbestos and nitrates are associated with gastrointestinal cancers; arsenic is associated with skin cancer; and synthetic organic chemicals are associated with cancers of the gastrointestinal tract and urinary bladder.