Men have a 1 in 2 chance of developing some sort of cancer at sometime during their lifetime and a 1 in 4 chance of dying from cancer. For women, the risk of developing cancer is 1 in 3 and the risk of dying from cancer is 1 in 5, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute database.
Many factors, particularly age, sex and genetic inheritance, affect both your lifetime cancer risk and your risk of developing a specific type of cancer. But despite the risk, there are some people who do not get cancer even when a family history of cancer exists.
Why do some people get cancer while others don’t? That’s the new focus of an ongoing American Cancer Society study that was begun in 1950 and is now in its third generation. Three hundred thousand people between the ages of 30 and 65 are being enrolled in the latest phase of the study. Participants must be cancer-free when they join the study. After providing an initial blood sample and completing a comprehensive health survey, participants are sent follow-up surveys every two years.
The first generation study discovered the link between smoking and lung cancer. The second generation study begun in the 1980s linked obesity with increased cancer risk. The current study is exploring the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on cancer risk as well as the question of why some people get cancer while others do not.