Cancer Causes (cont.)
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Family history of cancer
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Most cancers develop because of changes (mutations) in genes. A normal cell may become a cancer cell after a series of gene changes occur. Tobacco use, certain viruses, or other factors in a person's lifestyle or environment can cause such changes in certain types of cells.
Some gene changes that increase the risk of cancer are passed from parent to child. These changes are present at birth in all cells of the body.
It is uncommon for cancer to run in a family. However, certain types of cancer do occur more often in some families than in the rest of the population. For example, melanoma and cancers of the breast, ovary, prostate, and colon sometimes run in families. Several cases of the same cancer type in a family may be linked to inherited gene changes, which may increase the chance of developing cancers. However, environmental factors may also be involved. Most of the time, multiple cases of cancer in a family are just a matter of chance.
Having more than two drinks each day for many years may increase the chance of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, larynx, liver, and breast. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol that a person drinks. For most of these cancers, the risk is higher for a drinker who uses tobacco.
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Cancer Risk Factors - Sunlight Question: Were you diagnosed with skin cancer? Can you recall excessive sun exposure? Please share your story.
Cancer Risk Factors - Tobacco Question: Did/do you smoke or chew tobacco and have been diagnosed with cancer? Please share your experience.
Cancer Risk Factors - Chemicals and Substances Question: Were you diagnosed with cancer? Have you ever been exposed to chemicals? Please share your story.
Cancer Risk Factors - Family History Question: Is there a history of cancer in your family? What are your concerns?
Cancer Risk Factors - Diet and Exercise Question: In what ways does risk or fear of cancer influence your diet and exercise? Have you changed your lifestyle?