• By Laurel Kelly

Consumer Health: Reducing your risk of cancer

February 2, 2022
a middle-aged couple sitting outside, looking at one another and smiling

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. Also, Friday, Feb 4, is World Cancer Day, which is a global initiative to raise awareness, improve education and promote action to create a cancer-free world. This is a good time to learn about what you can do to reduce your risk of developing cancer.

The advice on preventing cancer can be confusing. It may seem to change, and sometimes a cancer prevention tip recommended in one study is contradicted by another study.

In many cases, what is known about cancer prevention is still evolving. However, it's well-accepted that your chances of developing cancer are affected by your lifestyle. A few simple lifestyle changes can make a difference in your risk of developing many types of cancer, including lung, breast, colonprostate, cervical and skin cancers.

If you're concerned about reducing your risk of developing cancer, here are seven cancer prevention tips to consider:

  • Don’t use tobacco.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • Get vaccinated for hepatitis B and HPV.
  • Avoid risky behaviors. This includes practicing safe sex and not sharing needles.
  • Get regular medical care.

Connect with others talking about preventing cancer and living well with cancer in the Cancer support group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online patient community moderated by Mayo Clinic.