A risk factor is something that raises your chances of getting a health problem. Some of these, such as your age or health past, cannot be changed. Others, like some habits, can be changed.

  • Chemicals at work—Many people work around chemicals that can harm them. Take steps to protect yourself at work. Check with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or the Environmental Protection Agency for help.
  • Radiation exposure—Radiation builds up in the body over a lifetime. Certain tests, such as x-rays during doctor or dental visits, give low doses. Repeated doses can make the risk of multiple myeloma higher. Talk to your doctor or dentist if you are worried about this risk. Get these tests only when you need them.
  • Smoking—Quitting smoking will lower the risk of many types of cancers. The sooner smoking is stopped, the sooner the body can start to heal. Talk to your doctor about the best ways for you to quit.

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