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Reviewed 12/1/2020

6 ways to avoid cancer

About 40% of cancer cases can be prevented by following six basic steps.

Pull the levers to get tips about each cancer prevention behavior.

DON'T SMOKE:

  • Smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for cancer.
  • Every death from tobacco is preventable.
  • Every form of tobacco causes cancer.

GET VACCINATED:

  • The HPV vaccine protects against cervical, throat, anal and other cancers.
  • The hepatitis B vaccine can protect against liver cancer.

MOVE MORE:

  • Limit sedentary behavior.
  • Be physically active at least 30 minutes daily.
  • Get up and move around regularly.

EAT WELL:

  • Eat whole grains.
  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and legumes (such as beans).
  • Limit how much red meat you eat.
  • Avoid processed meats.
  • Limit sodium.

CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT:

  • Limit high-calorie foods.
  • Avoid excess fat around the waist.
  • Fill your plate with plant-based foods.
  • Stay lean, but not underweight.
  • Avoid sugary drinks.

PROTECT YOUR SKIN:

  • Seek shade whenever you can.
  • Use sunscreen to block harmful UVA and UVB rays.
  • Choose high-SPF sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection.
  • Avoid sunbeds and tanning booths.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat and wraparound sunglasses.

Learn the myths and facts behind cancer prevention by taking this quiz.

Sources: American Cancer Society; American Institute for Cancer Research; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.