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Modifiable and Non-modifiable Risk Factors

Modifiable and Non-modifiable Risk Factors

Elements that increase a person’s vulnerability to disease are known as risk factors. Modifiable factors are those that can be adjusted or modified by the individual’s needs or preferences. Smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, physical inactivity, being overweight, and high blood cholesterol are examples of these. Non-modifiable variables cannot be changed, but their effects can be mitigated by making lifestyle adjustments. Age, ethnicity, and family history are all non-modifiable variables.

Reduction in tobacco use is the intervention with the greatest health benefits in cancer research and modifiable risk variables. When examined, it was shown that tobacco smoking decreases were responsible for more than half of the 26 percent decrease in cancer death rates since 1991. Obesity and overweight caused 7.8% of cancer cases in 2014, second only to tobacco usage (Stenger and Janetschnek, 2019). Obesity was linked to a high level of exercise. People’s chances of developing cancer would be reduced if they increased their physical activity and reduced their chances of becoming obese. In 2014, inadequate physical activity was linked to 2.9 percent of all cancer diagnoses in the United States. Uterine cancer had the greatest percentage of cancers linked to a lack of physical exercise, followed by colorectal cancer (Stenger and Janetschnek, 2019).

Exposure to chemicals or other substances, as well as behaviors, are all variables in the environment. Toxic gases and vapors can be released as a result of industrialization and modernization. Pollution may be found in the air, water, land, and food produced (McCance & Huether, 2014). All of these factors can contribute to an increased risk of cancer. This may be changed by being aware of what is going on around you and restricting the release of poisons, and lowering pollution creation.

Gender, genetics, and age are risk factors that cannot be changed (McCance & Huether, 2014). As people become older, their chances of getting cancer increase. The average age at which cancer is diagnosed is 66 years old. This indicates that 50% of cancer cases occur before the age of 66 and the other half after 66. No one has any influence over their age.

Cancer genetics may sometimes be found in a person’s ancestors’ genes. This means that a person’s genes cannot be altered to reduce their risk of developing cancer. However, if obesity, a modifiable risk factor for cancer, runs in the family, they can lower the chance of becoming obese and, as a result, the risk of acquiring cancer.

Gender is a non-modifiable cancer risk factor. Females are more likely to get malignancies such as breast and ovarian cancers than males. Breast cancer can strike men as well, but it is less common than it is in women. Males are more likely than females to get malignancies such as prostate and testicular cancer (McCance & Huether, 2014).


McCance, K. & Huether, S. (2014). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Stenger, M., & Janetschnek, L. (2019, January 25). Established, Modifiable Cancer Risk Factors. 2019/established-modifiable-cancer-risk- factors/


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