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Serious Medicine. Extraordinary Care.

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 even where cancer starts in carcinoma 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 that are high in fat and low in fiber 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.