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Understanding Cancer Series

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  • Posted: 12/29/2009

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Slide 24

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External Factors

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A cancer patient's genetic background may be impacted by external factors as well. Over a lifetime, a person's internal genetic makeup persistently interacts with many external factors such as diet, smoking, alcohol use, hormone levels, or exposures to certain viruses and cancer-linked chemicals (called carcinogens). These may collectively conspire with internal genetic changes to destabilize normal checks and balances on the body's growth and maturation. (Please see Understanding Cancer and the Environment for more information.)

Graphic show how external factors (such as diet, smoking, alcohol use, hormone levels, or exposures to certain viruses and cancer-linked chemicals (called carcinogens) can also change a person's risk for cancer.