What are your chances of getting cancer? With one in four dying from cancer in the U.S., does this mean you have a 25% chance of getting it? Read on to find out what your chances are of coming down with cancer and how to take steps to reduce your risk.
The American Cancer Society states the following:Over 3.5 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S. Further, of all deaths in the U.S., 1 in 4 are from cancer. Statistics such as this can make people feel as though they are playing roulette with their lives, a game of chance, and that there is nothing they can do to swing the odds. The fact is, there are several things people can do to dramatically swing the odds to their favor.
Consider the following statistics closely, provided by the American Cancer Society in their 2013 facts.
In the U.S., 3,660,290 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year. Two million of these are skin cancers caused by overexposure to the sun. Thirty percent (30%, 1,220,096 cases) are from obesity, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition. Additionally, 287,590 are from tobacco use. And 19,930 from sexually transmitted viruses.
To sum it up, the vast majority, 96.4%, of the above-described malignant infections (cancer, tumors, malignancies), are caused by sun exposure, tobacco use, obesity, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and unsafe sexual activity. These types of cancers are avoidable by making smart daily choices in our lives.
Perhaps the most obvious lifestyle choice is tobacco use. If tobacco products were not used, nearly 300,000 people would not receive a diagnosis of cancer each year.
The next most obvious lifestyle choices are obesity, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition, responsible for 30% of all cancer (1,220,096 diagnoses each year). This means that brisk walking for 30 minutes daily can actually reduce our risk of cancer dramatically. Adding several servings of dark green leafy vegetables daily, along with other vegetables and fruits, can further reduce our risk. Additionally, maintaining a proper weight reduces the risk of cancer. To learn what one's proper weight should be, use the BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator, which also displays appropriate body weight:
Close to 90% of all women, ages 18 to 65 (about 104 million) are infected with the sexually-transmitted HPV virus, according to Doctor Helen Rhodes, Associate Professor in M.D. Anderson's Department of Gynecologic Oncology. "HPV" stands for Human Papillomavirus and is a group of viruses. Approximately 13% of HPVs are carcinogenic. Nearly 100% of cervical cancer is caused by HPV. The simple use of a condom, or a monogamous lifestyle, would dramatically reduce the transmission of this cancer-causing virus.
Most skin cancers are avoidable. About 2 million cases of skin cancer, diagnosed annually, could be avoided by the use of sun block or protective clothing.
How can I find out what my risk is?
There are a number of web sites throughout the Internet which provide feedback on one's cancer risk. However, I used the "Cancer Risk Calculator" at CancerFreeForever.com/CancerRiskCalculator.asp and found it to be easier to use than most. Additionally, it does not require users to provide any personal information whatsoever (email address, phone number, name, address, etc.). If one's risk of cancer is not ideal, this calculator provides suggestions on how to reduce the cancer risk.
 American Cancer Society 2013 statistics:
 U.S. Census Bureau estimate at quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html
 U.S. CDC: cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/basic_info/