Cancer prevention is an action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. Our genes, lifestyle and the environment may increase our risk of developing cancer. There are many things you can do to reduce your risk by making healthy choices. Find out the steps you can take to manage your cancer risk.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Making the right food choices and exercising are powerful strategies for preventing cancer. Studies show that obesity is linked to a higher risk of many types of cancer.
A plant-based diet has been shown to not only reduce your risk for cancer but also heart disease, stroke and other diseases. Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you can’t eat any meat or dairy products. It means eating at least two-thirds of a diet that includes vegetables, whole grains and beans.
Other healthy habits include:
- Avoiding foods high in fat, sugar and salt
- Limiting red meat and processed meats
- Avoiding or limiting the amount of alcohol you drink
- Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine
Smoking and Tobacco Use
Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Tobacco use and/or smoking is strongly linked to an increased risk for many types of cancer. If you or someone close to you smokes, consider joining a support group, such as the Tobacco Treatment Program at Moffitt. It's also important to avoid second-hand smoke because nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.
Protecting Yourself from the Sun
Approximately one in 10 Floridians are diagnosed with skin cancer. Avoiding the sun in the sunshine state can be challenging but here are some tips you can take to protect your skin:
- Avoid the sun between peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wear water-proof SPF 30 or higher with UVA/UVB protection
- Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes, ears, nose and neck
- Avoid tanning beds
Protecting Yourself Against HPV and Hepatitis C
About 80% of Americans live with the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV vaccine significantly decreases the risk of six types of cancer, including:
- Cervical cancer
- Anal cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Vulvar cancer
- Penile cancer
- Head and neck cancer
If you are age 26 or younger and did not receive the three-dose HPV vaccine series, discuss the vaccine with your doctor.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can cause a liver infection that if left untreated can become long-term. "It is important that people get screened, as hepatitis C is the leading cause of hepatocellular carcinoma. Most people who are infected have no symptoms and don’t even know they are sick. And when symptoms do present, it is often a sign of advanced liver disease," said Dr. Anna Giuliano, founding director of the Center for Immunization and Infection Research in Cancer.
Cancer Screenings Matter
Cancer screenings are used to detect certain types of cancer early, before any noticeable symptoms may begin. In most cases, the earlier cancer is detected, the more likely it is to be treated effectively.
National guidelines recommend the most appropriate age to be screened for certain cancers. Although in most cases, the answer may depend on your age, lifestyle and history of cancer in your family. Moffitt offers breast, colon and lung cancer screening services to healthy adults and a referral is not required.
As the only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center is committed to not only the cure but also the prevention of cancer. To request an appointment call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.