Cancer Risk Factors

Cancer is a group of more than 100 different diseases, each with its own set of risk factors. Gender, race, and personal and family medical history are risk factors for cancer. Additionally, the risk of developing cancer increases as we age. Other risk factors are largely related to lifestyle choices, while certain infections, occupational exposures and some environmental factors can also be related to developing cancer.

Learn more with our fact sheets on Cancer Risk Factors and the Lifetime Risk of Cancer in New Jersey.

Cancer Surveillance Unit

The Cancer Surveillance Unit responds to inquiries about suspected cancer clusters and related cancer concerns from the public. The Unit also monitors cancer patterns and trends to provides up-to-date statistics on cancer incidence (newly diagnosed cases) and on cancer mortality for New Jersey.

Cancer is very common, affecting about 41% of men and 38% of women in the United States over their lifetime. Cancer is a group of over 100 different diseases, each with a different set of risk factors. Cancers may be caused by a variety of factors acting alone or together, usually over a period of many years. Scientists estimate that most cancers are due to a combination of heredity and lifestyle factors including cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, inadequate diet, and physical inactivity. Other risk factors include reproductive patterns, sexual behavior, sunlight exposure, certain infectious diseases, and exposure to cancer-causing agents in the workplace.

Cancer Concerns in Your Community Cancer Concerns in Your Environment Cancer Concerns in Your Workplace

Last Reviewed: 1/30/2019