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How can I prevent cancer?

Some studies suggest that nearly two out of three people could avoid cancer by not smoking and eating a healthy diet that includes generous servings of fruits and vegetables and limits high fat foods.

Other suggestions to discourage cancer include:

  • Include physical activity in your daily routine
  • Limiting your use of alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Reduce environmental exposure to carcinogens
  • Use sunscreen when outside

Regular physical exams by your doctor and self-examination are critical to detecting cancer early. That is critically important. The sooner cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances for a cure. If your family has a history of cancer, discuss this with your doctor. Following this advice and see your doctor often. You will be well on your way to a healthy, cancer-free life.

Sometimes cancer can be prevented. Looking at the whole country, it is quite possible that more than half of cancer deaths could be prevented—if no one used tobacco and if everyone took steps to improve their health. Of course, that is a big "if."

But is there a way to guarantee that you or your loved ones won't get cancer? So far, nothing has been found that is proven to prevent every case of cancer. As of 2008, there are ways to prevent many cases of cancer in large groups of people. And there are things you can do as an individual that might reduce your chances of getting cancer. If cancer does develop, doctors also use early detection tests to improve the odds that it will be found at an early stage when it is easier to treat. But, as of today, even the best methods of reducing your chances of getting cancer (called cancer risk reduction) cannot prevent all cancers.

Continue Learning about Cancer Prevention

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Can Exercise in Mid-Life Help Prevent Cancer Later on?
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.