Cancer is majorly an environmental malady. Certain factors which increase the chances of developing cancer are called risk factors. Although it is not possible to tell exactly why one individual develops this deadly disease, certain risk factors indicate a person’s chances of developing it. 

Read here a list of the risk factors that develop cancer:


smoke from cigerette causing cancer
Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death. Using tobacco products or even passive smoking increases the risk of cancer. The smoke develops cancer of the lung, larynx, mouth, esophagus, bladder, kidney, throat, stomach, pancreas, blood, mouth, and cervix.

Chemical substances

man working in a chemical industry
People who work in jobs related to construction or chemical industry have an increased risk of cancer. The exposure to chemicals such as asbestos, benzene, cadmium, nickel, or vinyl chloride over a long duration is potent to cause cancer.

Poor diet and lack of physical activity

unhealthy food on platter
People who have a poor diet, or are overweight may be at an increased risk of several types of cancer, such as that of colon, uterus, and prostate. Lack of physical activity is also a risk factor for cancers of breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, and uterus.


High-energy radiation can cause cancer. Non-ionizing radiations that emit from cell phones have not been found to cause cancer though. However, the following sources of radiation are risk factors for cancer:

sun radiations affecting skin

  • Sunlight: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation comes from the sun, sunlamps, and tanning booths. This radiation not just causes early aging of the skin, but skin damage too that can lead to skin cancer.
  • Ionizing radiation: Ionizing radiation that is released from sources such as radon gas, x-rays, radioactive fallout, or use of atomic weapons can cause cell damage that leads to cancer of thyroid, breast, lung, and stomach.
  • Medical procedures: These are a common source of radiation. The risk from radiation therapy is slightly higher.

Organisms and bacterial infections

The following viruses and bacterial infections are the root cause of cancer:

virus causing cancer

  • Human papillomaviruses (HPVs)
  • Hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses
  • Human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus (HTLV-1)
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8)
  • Helicobacter pylori

Many of the risk factors causing cancer, such as obesity, alcohol and tobacco addiction, exposure to UV radiations, can be avoided. Others, such as a family history of cancer, hormones, or old age, cannot be avoided. So, be informed and stay healthy.

For any query related to cancer, you can consult an Oncologist at

About the Author

Vidhi Ghildiyal

Vidhi is a writer and blogger with more than 6 years of experience in developing content for varied verticals.

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