Cancer was previously thought to be an inevitable aspect of human health with no effective treatments. However, the results of in-depth cancer research suggest that most types of cancer may be preventable. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of the disparities in cancer burden caused by different risk factors is essential to inform and improve cancer prevention and control. Here, we propose the cancer etiology and prevention principle “1 + X,” where 1 denotes the primary risk factor for a cancer and X represents the secondary contributing risk factors for the cancer. We elaborate upon the “1 + X” principle with respect to risk factors for several different cancer types. The “1 + X” principle can be used for precise prevention of cancer by eliminating the main cause of a cancer and minimizing the contributing factors at the same time.

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