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More than 1 in 3 people in the UK will get cancer during their lives. Everyone has a certain risk of developing cancer. It’s thought that this is affected by a combination of our genes, lifestyle and environment.
Most of the time, we don’t know exactly what causes any particular cancer, but we do know some of the risk factors for cancer.
A risk factor is something that may increase your chance of developing the illness. Having risk factors for a cancer may mean the chances of you developing that cancer are increased, but it doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get cancer.
For most people, increasing age is the biggest risk factor for developing cancer. In general, older people (those over 65) are far more likely to develop cancer than younger people (those under 50).
Content last reviewed: 1 December 2012
Next planned review: 2015
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If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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