August 29, 2016
font size

Definition of Cancer causes

Cancer causes: In most individual cases of cancer, the exact cause of cancer is unknown. The causes may include increased genetic susceptibility; environmental insults, such as chemical exposure or smoking cigarettes; lifestyle factors, including diet; damage caused by infectious disease; and many more.

Although they are not causes per se, many characteristics can influence the development of cancer. These include gender, race, age, and the health of the patient's immune system. When common causes for a type of cancer are discovered, this information can be very helpful in prevention and sometimes in treatment.

For example, the link between overexposure to the sun and skin cancer is well-known, and individuals can easily reduce their risk by avoiding sun tanning and sunburns. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer for both men and women.

The most common cancer in men is prostate cancer, in women it is breast cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer for both men and women in the U.S.

Cancer is not contagious.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

Drug Medical Dictionary of Terms by Letter

Top RxList Drug News


Get the latest treatment options.

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations