Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Unknown Primary

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 4/2013
Risk Factors

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about what factors increase the chance of this type of cancer. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

Since CUP can be almost any type of primary cancer, the risk factors for all types of cancer can be risk factors for CUP. The following factors can raise a person’s risk of developing CUP:

  • Age. The average age of a person diagnosed with CUP is 60.
  • Tobacco use, including cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco, and cigar smoking
  • Sun exposure
  • Exposure to large amounts of radiation
  • Exposure to chemicals in some manufacturing industries
  • Poor nutrition
  • Lack of exercise
  • Family history (Specifically, if more than one brother, sister, parent, or grandparent has been diagnosed with breast, ovarian, or colorectal cancer, the risk of cancer increases.)

Choose “Next” (below, right) to continue reading this guide to learn about what symptoms this type of cancer can cause. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.

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