A risk factor is any factor that is associated with increasing someone’s chance of developing a certain condition, such as cancer. Some risk factors can be modified, such as lifestyle or environmental risk factors. Others cannot be modified, such as inherited factors or whether someone in the family has had cancer.
Having 1 or more risk factors does not mean that you will develop cancer. Many people have at least 1 risk factor but will never develop cancer, while others with cancer may have had no known risk factors. Even if a person with cancer has a risk factor, it is usually hard to know how much that risk factor contributed to the development of their disease.
Although the exact cause of gestational trophoblastic disease is unknown, it has been linked to certain risk factors:
- Age – women under 20 and over 35 years of age are at higher risk.
- Previous gestational trophoblastic disease – for women who have had a hydatidiform mole in the past, the chance of it occurring again is about 1%.
If you are concerned about your risk for gestational trophoblastic disease, please see your doctor.