Cancer Risk Factors
A cancer risk factor is anything that increases a person’s risk of developing cancer. Cancer risk factors include age; sex; race; ethnicity; poverty; genetics, such as genetic mutations and family history; health behaviors and lifestyle factors, such as tobacco and alcohol use and obesity; and environmental factors, such as radiation, infectious agents, and workplace exposures.
- 57% of all cases of invasive cancer and 71% of cancer deaths occurred in Ohioans age 65 and older in 2018.
- 21% of Ohio adults were current cigarette smokers in 2019, compared with 16% in the United States.
- Tobacco use is associated with 12 types of cancer and 30% of all cancer deaths.
- For help quitting tobacco, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- 35% of Ohio men and women were obese in 2019.
- Obesity is associated with 13 types of cancer and nearly 1 in 5 cancer deaths.
- In 2019, more than 1 in 4 Ohio adults reported no physical activity in the past month.
- Higher levels of physical activity have been linked to lower risk of several types of cancer.
- In Ohio, 24% of men and 14% of women were excessive drinkers in 2019.
- Alcohol use causes 6% of new cancers and 4% of cancer-related deaths in the United States.
- Certain infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, can increase the risk of developing cancer.
- For example, high-risk types of HPV (human papillomavirus) can cause six types of cancer, including nearly all cervical cancers.
- Vaccination can prevent infection with these types of HPV.