What is prevention?
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting
cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer
in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower
the number of deaths caused by cancer.
To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk
factors and protective factors. Anything that increases your
chance of developing cancer is called a cancer risk factor;
anything that decreases your chance of developing cancer is
called a cancer protective factor.
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot.
For example, both smoking and inheriting certain genes are
risk factors for some types of cancer, but only smoking can be
avoided. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective
factors for some types of cancer. Avoiding risk factors and
increasing protective factors may lower your risk but it does
not mean that you will not get cancer.
Different ways to prevent cancer are being studied, including:
- Changing lifestyle or eating habits.
- Avoiding things known to cause cancer.
- Taking medicines to treat a precancerous condition or to
keep cancer from starting.