Multiple Factors in a Multistep Process
In the study of cancer prevention, one of the puzzles is why individuals living in the same environment vary so greatly in their liability to cancer of any particular type. Recently, it has become clear that the risk of developing cancer is determined partly by environmental factors (carcinogens), and partly by host factors such as age, inherited susceptibility, and the person’s nutritional, hormonal or immune status. In addition, while prolonged exposure of an individual to one carcinogen will increase cancer risk, exposure to a second carcinogen can increase the risk even further. Finally, certain naturally-occurring substances are known to protect against cancer development and can reverse damage already caused by carcinogens . All these factors combine to explain differences in cancer risk between individuals.
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