7 Cancer Prevention Tips

Expand all

Don't use tobacco

Avoiding tobacco — or deciding to stop using it —is one of the most important health decisions you can make. Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, bladder, cervix and kidney. And chewing tobacco has been linked to >cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. Even if you don’t use tobacco, exposure to secondhan

Eat a healthy diet

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Base your diet on fruits, vegetables and other foods from plant sources — such as whole grains and beans.
  • Limit fat. Eat lighter and leaner by choosing fewer high-fat foods, particularly those from animal sources. High-fat diets tend to be higher in calorie and might increase the risk of becoming overweight or obese — which can, in turn, increase cancer risk.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation.

The risk of various types of cancer — including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver — increase with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you have been drinking regularly.

Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active

Maintain a healthy weight and increase your physical activity. That will lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney.

Protect yourself from the sun

Skin cancer is one of the most common kinds
of cancer — and one of the most preventable. Try these tips:

  • Avoid midday sun. Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are
    strongest.
  • Stay in the shade. Sunglasses and a broad-rimmed hat help, too.
  • Cover exposed areas. Wear tightly woven, loosefitting clothing that covers as much of your
    skin as possible.
  • Don't skimp on sunscreen. Use generous amounts of sunscreen when you're outdoors,
    and reapply often.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. These are just as damaging as natural sunlight.

Get immunized

Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Talk to your doctor about
immunization against:

  • Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is
    recommended for certain high-risk adults.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and
    other genital cancers as well as squamous cell cancers of the head and neck. The HPV vaccine
    is available to both men and women age 26 or younger who didn’t have the vaccine as adolescents.

Avoid risky behaviors

Another effective cancer prevention tactic is to avoid risky behaviors that can lead to infections that, in turn, might increase the risk of cancer. For example:

  • Practice safe sex. Limit your number of sexual partners, and use a condom when you have sex. People who have HIV or AIDS have a higher risk of cancer of the anus, liver and lung. HPV is most often associated with cervical cancer, but it might also increase the risk of cancer of the anus, penis, throat, vulva and vagina.
  • Don’t share needles. Sharing needles with an infected drug user can lead to HIV, as well as hepatitis B and hepatitis C — which can increase the risk of liver cancer.

Get regular medical care

Regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, prostate, cervix and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.

Ask your doctor about the best cancer screening schedule for you.

Take cancer prevention into your own hands, starting today. The rewards will last a lifetime.

Top