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Study finds risk of developing cancer depends on 2 factors

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — According to a new study published by the American Cancer Society, a person’s risk of developing any type of cancer may depend on just two things: age and smoking status.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers followed an estimated 430,000 participants with no history of cancer for five years. Over 15,000 were diagnosed with the disease within the five years. This risk of developing any type of cancer was strongest for people who currently smoke. The second strongest risk factor was being over age 50. 

“As we consider the possibility that future tests may be able to identify several types of cancer, we need to begin to understand who is at most risk for developing any type of cancer,” lead study author Dr. Alpa Patel said in a statement. “These types of data are not widely available, but necessary to inform future screening options, such as blood-based multi-cancer early detection tests that could help save lives.”

In 2022, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1.9 million new cancer diagnoses and over 600,000 cancer deaths in the United States.