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Public Repository to Engage Community and Enhance Design Equity


Cancer is a chronic disease that often causes significant morbidity and sometimes, mortality. Most cancers develop due to the exposure of several environmental, genetic, and behavioral factors. Known and suspected carcinogens should avoid being introduced to the built environment in an effort to lessen cancer-contributing exposures.


Cancer is a chronic disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. Because any cell has the potential to become cancerous, the disease can start almost anywhere in the human body.

Human Health Mechanism

Normally, human cells grow and multiply to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes this process breaks down, and abnormal or damaged cells grow and multiply when they shouldn’t.

Indicator Measurement

Data are available through the CDC PLACES public dashboard and are collected from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which is a state-based, telephone interview survey. BRFSS provides cancer prevalence data by modeling the percentage of adults who report ever having been told by a doctor, nurse, or other health professional that they have any type of cancer (besides skin).

Related Health Outcomes & Exposures

Physical Distress, Mental Distress, PM2.5, Ozone, Lack of Insurance, Regular Check-up, Traffic Proximity, Waste Proximity, Smoking


Click here for References
  1. Cancer Data Source: CDC PLACES: Cancer. Data year 2020. Accessed April 2023.
  2. Health Outcomes Measure Definitions: Cancer. Published May 19, 2023. Accessed November 10, 2023.
  3. Koohsari MJ, Nakaya T, McCormack GR, Oka K. Built Environment Design and Cancer Prevention through the Lens of Inequality. Cities. 2021;119:103385. Doi:10.1016/j.cities.2021.103385
  4. Ma Z. Cancer Screening Prevalence and Associated Factors Among US Adults. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2022;19. Doi:10.5888/pcd19.220063
  5. National Cancer Institute. What Is Cancer? Published October 11, 2021. Accessed November 10, 2023.
  6. Wray AJD, Minaker LM. Is Cancer Prevention Influenced by the Built Environment? A Multidisciplinary Scoping Review. Cancer. 2019;125(19):3299-3311. Doi:10.1002/cncr.32376World Health Organization (WHO). Fact Sheet: Cancer. Published February 3, 2022. Accessed November 10, 2023.