Can You Reduce Cancer Risk?

There is no guaranteed way to prevent all types of cancer. However, more than a third of cancers are preventable, and there are things that you can do to reduce your risk for developing certain cancers.

According to WHO, between 30-50% of all cancer cases are preventable. Learn what you can do to prevent, or lower your risk for, certain types of cancer. Click To Tweet

Don’t use tobacco

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, and between 80-90% of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. are linked to smoking. It’s not just cigarettes that increase your risk for cancer, though. Tobacco in any form puts you at risk for developing cancer. This includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and electronic cigarettes.

Limit alcohol consumption

Consuming too much alcohol increases a person’s risk for mouth, throat, liver, breast, and colon cancers. If you do not drink alcohol, do not start drinking for potential health benefits.

Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity and physical inactivity are both associated with an increased cancer risk. Maintaining a healthy or normal weight decreases your risk for certain types of cancer including breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and kidney cancer.

  • Choose a healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and low in highly processed foods.
  • Pay attention to serving size and eat the right portions.
  • Be more physically active; adults need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. The more active you are, the greater the health benefits.
  • Avoid sedentary living. Replace time in front of screens with healthy, active hobbies.

Protect yourself from UV radiation

Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun is the leading causes of skin cancer. UV radiation is harmful regardless of your skin tone. Limit your exposure to ultraviolet radiation by staying out of direct sunlight, wearing clothing that covers the skin, and applying sunscreen. Also avoid ultraviolet radiation from man-made sources such as tanning beds.


Vaccination can help prevent some cancers. For example, almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV vaccine can help prevent cervical cancer among other types of cancer. Hepatitis B vaccine can also help prevent some cancers.

Screen for cancer

Cancer screenings can detect cancer in its early stages when it is most treatable. In some cases cancer screening can actually help prevent cancer. Colorectal cancer is almost entirely preventable; screening allows for the removal of polyps before they turn into cancer.

Other types of screening that can help protect a person from cancer include pap smear, mammography, colonoscopy, and lung cancer screening. Talk to your doctor about cancer screening options. Request an appointment with a doctor in Northwest Arkansas today.

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