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Medical City Healthcare

Eight steps to reduce your cancer risk

Knowing your body and seeing a doctor when a change is noticed can help catch symptoms early.

May 31, 2024
Woman and a child dancing.

Cancer can develop in any part of the body. It is one of the most common diseases and is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, cancer doesn’t discriminate against age, gender, race, ethnicity or financial status. It can affect any person, even the youngest and healthiest. 

According to the World Health Organization, between 30-50% of all cancer cases are preventable with lifestyle changes and early detection. While there are no guaranteed ways to prevent cancer, you can take measures to reduce your cancer risk. See how below: 

Educating yourself is the first step in reducing your risk of cancer.

There are many myths and misunderstandings about cancer. Increasing your knowledge and awareness of cancer risk factors is the easiest way to prevent many types of cancer and/or detect it earlier. Make time to learn the facts. Get information from reputable websites such as the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute

Avoid smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco.

Tobacco is not healthy in any form, including cigars and chewing tobacco. All forms of tobacco can cause cancer. Learn more about tobacco and cancer

Eat healthy, get to and stay at a normal weight and move more. 

Too much body weight, poor eating habits, physical inactivity and excess alcohol consumption increase your risk of cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends eating more plant-based foods and less red meat and processed foods. If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Be physically active for 30 minutes or more every day; don’t sit for long periods. The American Cancer Society also recommends that adults be physically active for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity each week (or a combination), preferably spread throughout the week. Learn more about eating healthy and getting active

Protect your skin from the sun by wearing the appropriate sunscreen and protective apparel. 

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Everyone needs to protect their skin when outdoors, even when it’s cloudy and no matter the color of your skin. Tanning beds are not a safe alternative. Find out more on how you can prevent skin cancer. 

Practice safe sex, avoid risky behaviors and get recommended vaccines. 

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is sexually transmitted. Certain types of HPV can cause cancers, including those of the cervix, throat, anus, vagina and penis. Hepatitis B and C viruses can cause liver cancer and can be spread from person to person through sex or blood. There are preventative vaccines for HPV and Hepatitis B. Hepatitis C can be detected with a blood test and treated early before damage to the liver occurs. All adults should get tested at least once. Learn about vaccines and Hepatitis C testing.

Get recommended screening tests and go for routine check-up appointments with your doctor. 

Some tests can help find cancer early, before symptoms occur and when treatment is more likely to work. Some tests can also detect conditions before they become cancer, such as finding precancerous polyps during a colonoscopy. Screening has been proven to save lives. People who have finished cancer treatment will still need screening, follow-up tests and appointments to check for the return of their cancer and development of other cancers. Learn more about screening guidelines. These guidelines may change and differ among organizations. Talk with your doctor and discuss which tests are best for you.

Learn about your family history of cancer.

Most people who get cancer do not have a family history, but a personal or family history of cancer or other medical conditions may increase your risk. Some families have a higher risk because members carry an inherited mutation in one or more genes. Certain ethnic and racial populations also carry a higher risk for particular cancers, such as African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews. Learn more about family history and cancer.

You are the most important person in the prevention and early detection of cancer. 

You know your body the best; pay attention to it. Report changes to your doctor, especially warning signs of cancer, such as unintended weight loss, extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest and lumps. Be your own advocate and speak up when something is wrong even if you’re not sure it’s significant. Get a second opinion if you don’t think you are being taken seriously. 

Call askSARAH at (972) 202-8877 if you have questions or want more information on how to prevent cancer and get screening tests.


American Cancer Society


Free and Low-Cost Cancer Screenings, Testing and Vaccinations

Medical City Healthcare Doctor Referral Line (844) 671-4204

Prevent Cancer Foundation 

May 31, 2024