Research studies have shown that some types of cancer are linked to
an individual genetics (traits inherited from biological
parents), lifestyle, and environmental exposures, although causes for a large
proportion of cancers remain unknown. Some risk factors for cancer can be
modified (see below). Other factors, such as family history, cannot be altered.
However, finding out about family history and genetic risks for cancer can
help with early detection and better treatment. The May 26, 2004, issue of JAMA includes several articles about cancer.