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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.
- Smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for cancer.
- Every death from tobacco is preventable.
- Every form of tobacco causes cancer.
- The HPV vaccine protects against cervical, throat, anal and other cancers.
- The hepatitis B vaccine can protect against liver cancer.
- Limit sedentary behavior.
- Be physically active at least 30 minutes daily.
- Get up and move around regularly.
- 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
- American Cancer Society. "American Cancer Society Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity." https://www.cancer.org/healthy/eat-healthy-get-active/acs-guidelines-nutrition-physical-activity-cancer-prevention/guidelines.html.
- American Cancer Society. "How Do I Protect Myself from Ultraviolet (UV) Rays?" https://www.cancer.org/healthy/be-safe-in-sun/uv-protection.html.
- American Institute for Cancer Research. "Be Physically Active as a Part of Your Everyday Life — Walk More and Sit Less." https://www.aicr.org/cancer-prevention/recommendations/be-physically-active/.
- American Institute for Cancer Research. "Cancer and Weight: Be a Healthy Weight." https://www.aicr.org/cancer-prevention/recommendations/be-a-healthy-weight/.
- American Institute for Cancer Research. "How to Reduce the Risk of Cancer." https://www.aicr.org/cancer-prevention/healthy-lifestyle/.
- American Institute for Cancer Research. "Slash the Salt, Keep the Flavor and Boost Your Health." https://www.aicr.org/resources/blog/slash-the-salt-keep-the-flavor-and-boost-your-health/.
- American Institute for Cancer Research. "Using Healthy Eating to Lower Cancer Risk." https://www.aicr.org/cancer-prevention/healthy-eating/.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking." https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Hepatitis B. VIS." https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/hep-b.html#:~:text=Current%20VISs-,Hepatitis%20B%20VIS,-Print.