As for excess body weight? That’s likely responsible for about 1 in 3 cases of gallbladder, liver, kidney, and esophageal cancer in men, too.
The viruses played an important role too, though not to the extent of the factors listed above. For instance, HPV caused 0.4 percent of all cancer cases in men—including 38 percent of cases of oropharynx cancers and 59 percent of penile cancers—while HIV caused 0.5 percent, including 89 percent of Kaposi sarcoma, a cancer in the cells that line your lymph or blood vessels.
Of course, viruses like HPV and HIV can be prevented through safe-sex measures, including condoms and dental dams (Here’s what every guy should know about HPV and cancer).
As for the other risk factors? The good news is, those factors are well under your control. For instance, take smoking: Within five years after quitting smoking, men’s risk of adenocarcinoma—the most common form of lung cancer—dropped by 52 percent, reaching an 80 percent reduction after another 5 years, a study published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology found (Having trouble quitting? Three former smokers who finally kicked the habit tell you how they did it).
Plus, many of the other risk factors—poor diet, inactivity, and excess body weight—can be improved with the same simple change: Starting a healthy eating and exercise program. Even losing as little as five percent of your body weight can begin to lower your cancer risk, Graham Colditz, M.D,. chair of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) told us in the past.