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The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

UT Extension TEAM Up Tennessee

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TEAM UP Tennessee: Eight Ways to Reduce Your Risk

Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer, you can reduce your risk (chance) of developing cancer by following these eight important steps:

  1. Not using tobacco.
  2. Keeping your weight within healthy limits.
  3. Exercising regularly.
  4. Choosing foods with less fat.
  5. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  6. Practicing safe sex.
  7. Avoiding excessive or unnecessary exposure to the sun by using sunscreen and wearing clothing that protects the skin.
  8. Talking with your doctor about the possible benefits of drugs proven to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Although many risk factors can be avoided, some, such as inherited conditions, are unavoidable. Still, it is helpful to be aware of them. It is also important to keep in mind that not everyone with a particular risk factor for cancer actually gets the disease; in fact, most do not. People who have an increased likelihood of developing cancer can help protect themselves by avoiding risk factors whenever possible and by getting regular checkups so that if cancer develops, it is likely to be found and treated early. Treatment is often more effective when cancer is detected early. Screening exams, such as sigmoidoscopy or the fecal occult blood test, mammography, and the Pap test, can detect precancerous conditions (which can be treated before they turn into cancer) and early-stage cancer.