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Cancer Prevention

You can make lifestyle choices and take precautions in the home and workplace to reduce potentially harmful exposures. Here are some rules you can follow to reduce your risks:

  • Don't smoke, or dip or chew tobacco
  • Eat at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day
  • Cut down the amount of fat in your diet
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Try to get some exercise every day
  • Protect yourself from the sun and avoid getting sunburned
  • Women need to get mammograms, Pap smears, and colon and rectal cancer screening tests
  • Men should examine their testes regularly, and have colon and rectal cancer screening tests
  • Vaccinations for hepatitis B and human papillomavirus at recommended ages can reduce risk at certain cancer sites
  • Ask your doctor for other specific recommendations, particularly if you have a family history of cancer

Female Breast Cancer Prevention

Most women in whom breast cancer develops have no risk factors. Breast examinations and mammograms conducted by health care professionals increase the chances that breast cancer will be diagnosed early. Among women who have higher than average risk, certain drugs may help prevent breast cancer. All women should discuss their risk and screening or prevention options with their health care provider.

Lung Cancer Prevention

Not smoking is the most effective way to reduce the risk for lung cancer. Limiting exposure to secondhand smoke and testing homes for radon also can lead to a reduction in the risk for lung cancer. Increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption may also decrease risk, as well as help prevent other diseases. Also, applicable health and safety rules, like wearing protective equipment, should be adhered to in high-risk jobs.

Bladder Cancer Prevention

Not smoking is the most important behavior to reduce bladder cancer risk. The risk for bladder cancer among smokers who quit smoking returns to normal eventually. Workplace exposures may also increase the risk for bladder cancer. Applicable health and safety rules, like wearing protective equipment, should be adhered to in high-risk jobs.

Cancer of the Brain and Central Nervous System Prevention

Recommendations for preventing brain or nervous system tumors are undefined because their causes are unknown. Avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure can prevent many types of cancer.

Thyroid Cancer Prevention

Most people with thyroid cancer have no known risk factors; therefore it is not possible to prevent the disease in those instances. Because of the availability of genetic blood tests, most of the familial cases of MTC can be either prevented or treated early. If the disease is diagnosed, the patient's family members can be tested also. If a family history of MTC exists, a doctor who is familiar with the latest advances in genetic counseling and genetic testing for this disease should be consulted. Removing the thyroid gland in children who carry the abnormal gene will prevent a cancer that might be fatal.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Prevention

Most people who have non-Hodgkin lymphoma have no known risk factors, and the cause of their cancer is unknown. The best way to prevent this cancer is to reduce known risk factors, such as reducing the spread of HIV, which causes AIDS. HIV is spread among adults usually through sex or sharing contaminated needles by IV drug users. Treating AIDS with new anti-HIV drugs appears to reduce the risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

By exploring the relationship between Helicobacter pylori and lymphoma, some methods to prevent non-Hodgkin lymphoma may be discovered. More research is needed to discover these possibilities.

Doctors are also exploring cancer treatment and organ transplant methods that reduce the risk of lymphoma. However, in the case of life-threatening diseases, the risk of acquiring lymphoma later must be balanced against the immediate need to treat the critical disease.

Leukemia Prevention

Not smoking can reduce the risk for acute myeloid leukemia. Avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure can prevent many types of cancer.

Data and information for this site are still being developed and added.  We welcome your comments and feedback.

This effort is supported by funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Cooperative Agreement Number 5U38EH000619-02. The contents of this Website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.