Where you live could affect your cancer risk

Areas of poor environmental quality are more likely to have higher cancer rates, according to new research published in the journal Cancer.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago compared data from the Environmental Quality Index with cancer incidence rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study looked at how air, water and land quality, as well as social factors, demographics and even the things we build around ourselves, can contribute to cancer development.

The scientists found the average county in the U.S. had about 451 cases per 100,000 people, while areas with the worst environmental factors had about 490 cases.

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People were most likely to develop prostate and breast cancer when environmental quality decreased.

And while previous research has looked at the individual environmental factors that lead to an increased risk of cancer, this study is the first that considers all of those factors at once.