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Am I At Risk for Carcinoma of Unknown Primary Origin?

Photo of woman holding a cigarette
Smoking is a risk factor for many kinds of cancer.

Certain factors can make you more likely to get cancer than another person. These are called risk factors. Because doctors do not know why, how, or where cancer of unknown primary origin (CUP), it is hard to identify risk factors for it.

Doctors do know, however, that smoking is a risk factor for many kinds of cancer. Certain foods have been linked to cancers of the stomach, colon, or rectum, which are all possible sources of CUP. Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is another source of CUP. Finally, a certain family cancer history may also be considered a risk factor. If more than one close relative, such as a grandparent, parent, or sibling, has been diagnosed with colorectal, ovarian, or breast cancer, your risk for cancer may increase. Taking steps to lower your risk for cancer, such as quitting smoking, eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, and using sunscreen, may also lower your risk for CUP.

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Moloney Johns, Amanda, PA-C, MPAS, BBA
Last Review Date: 11/24/2013
© 2013 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.