How can you prevent cancer?How can you prevent cancer?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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Cancer is when the body begins to produce abnormal cells, or:

...numerous distinct diseases characterized by abnormal cell growth and differentiation.

Strategies to prevent cancer are becoming more publicized all the time. One form of prevention that has been available to the public for many years is linked to the incidence of cancer from smoking, or being around someone who smokes. The best thing to do is stop smoking, or never begin, and remove yourself from others who smoke: secondary smoke can cause cancer in non-smokers.

Attention to diet is another major way to prevent cancer. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetable, and avoiding foods high in saturated fats are factors being tested in clinical trials to determine if they might have a pronounced effect on the incidence of cancer. Studies regarding vitamins, soy and minerals are also being conducted.

Eighty to ninety percent of all cancer is linked in some way to the environment, and in these numbers, between thirty and forty percent of these incidents of cancer are due to diet. It is suggested that reducing fat intake, limiting consumption of red meat, alcohol, and sugar may be effective in limiting the chances of developing cancer. "Processed meats, energy-dense foods, and mouldy grains" should be avoided as well. It is better to eat foods of plant-origin. It is believed that nutrients and antioxidants are instrumental in preventing cancer.

The Mayo Clinic also makes additional recommendations. Keeping a healthy weight and including some exercise on a daily basis is good for fighting cancer. Avoid exposure to the sun. Immunization, and as well as practicing "safe-sex" and not sharing needles are helpful steps in staying cancer-free. Finally, people should look to early detection as a way to fight cancer. Cancer screenings are important; it would be wise to speak to one's doctor regarding steps that can be taken in the fight against cancer.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My mother's oncologist told us all that every person walking the earth has cancer cells.  Some of us are at greater risk (genetics, history of cancer on one or both sides of the family, age, diet, etc.) than others, but we all have the potential for developing this disease.  Scientists are unsure exactly what causes or triggers these dormant cells to "turn on" in certain individuals, but she told us that it seems (at least in women's cancers, which she specializes in at Gynecologic Oncology Of Middle Tennessee) to be brought on by stress.  My mother was diagnosed just months after a year of caring for my father whose poor health caused his  death.  The stress from this is what Dr. Williams pointed to as the cause for mom's cancer.

So, I would add to the above posts, eliminate all unnecessary stress from your life.  Sounds easy, but I'm certain it is not.  Get enough rest, ask others for help when you need it, eat well, exercise daily, laugh a lot. 

Good Luck!


bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I wish I knew. I lost my beloved mother to lung cancer just a month ago. It wasn't much of a surprise, as she smoked a pack a day for more than 60 years, but it was a horrible experience.

From my experience, I can tell you that not even the doctors really know. In my mom's case they just kept throwing different chemicals and meds at the problem until one showed some effectiveness. Chemo gave her a poor quality of life, and she died in the same time frame she would have without it.

No one can control the hereditary factors of cancer, but there are  a few things you can do to lessen the chances. Don't smoke, eat a variety of foods (limiting starches and sugars), get regular exercise, have a positive mental attitude, and take time to relieve yourself of stress.

trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cancer has a strong genetic component. However, there are factors that cause cells to become cancerous. This include chemicals, ultraviolet radiation, diet, lifestyle choices and exposure to certain viruses. Cigarette smoking is the main environmental culprit that causes cancer. All of the above are mutagenic agents. However, the longer you live, the greater your chances of developing cancer. Mutations in proto-oncogenes and in tumor suppressor genes result in uncontrolled cell division and ultimately cancer. Therefore, it is important to know your family background, avoid processed foods, try to live a healthy lifestyle and make sure you keep scheduled doctor's appointments.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To all who have lost someone to cancer (which is probably all of us), you have my sympathy. In reply to the original question, there is no one answer because there is no one type of cancer. Every manifestation is unique in cause and treatment.

You have no control over your heredity, so any genetic factors will be there regardless and all you can do is deal with them. Environmental factors may or may not be something you can influence. Lifestyle choices are within your power to shape. In the long run, there is no guaranteed way to "prevent" cancer. The best you can do is to live so as to minimize the chances of its development.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would echo other editors' postings regarding diet and healthy lifestyle. Whilst there is no definite way of avoiding cancer, certainly there are lots of things we can do to help reduce the risk of contracting cancer, and these include making sure we eat a healthy diet including lots of vegetables, make wise lifestyle choices such as avoiding smoking and trying to control stress in our lives.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are also various kinds of chemical and mineral substances that should be avoided in order to reduce one's risk of cancer.  For example, BPA, which is in some soft plastics, may be a carcinogen and should be avoided.  Asbestos is something that can be very carcinogenic and is especially connected to lung cancer.

mahnazx5 | Student
How can you prevent cancer?

How can you prevent cancer?

Numerous studies show that a diet high in animal fat increases the risk for several types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Red meat contains much more fat than poultry and fish, so reducing the amount of red meat in your diet may help to prevent cancer. A diet high in fat also is major cause of obesity, which is a risk factor for many types of cancer.


Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol regularly increases your risk factor for many types of cancer. Studies suggest that men who consume 2 alcoholic drinks per day and women who have 1 alcoholic drink per day significantly increase their risk factors for certain types of cancer.

giorgiana1976 | Student

We all hear and learn about what cancer means, sooner or later in our life.

Cancer occurs because of damaged DNA, that remains unrepaired within the cancer cells. Usually, a damaged DNA in a normal cell, either it is repaired, or the cell dies. Unlike normal cells, the cancer cells do not repair the damaged DNA, but they create new abnormal cells.

Of course, some of us may inherit the the damaged DNA, but usually, this damage occurs because of an error that happens while the cell is reproducing.

There are tips to avoid these errors that lead to a damaged DNA

All these tips concerns our way of living: all we eat and how we live.

For instance, if our food would be rich in selenium, the cells will fight to repair the damaged DNA. If in our daily routine, we'll include a calcium supplement, the risk to develop colon cancer will decrease. Also, if we'll remove the unnecessary chemicals from our life, the chances to avoid this horrible disease will grow.

hannapark | Student

It really depends on what type of cancer you are talking about but like booboosmoosh said, cancer is due to abnormal cell growth. This can occur for many reasons, such as exposure to UV rays, environmental state, as well as to poor diet and exercise. To be totally honest, there aren't many ways to prevent cancer because genetics and heredity plays roles in cancer but to lower your chances, I recommend to stop smoking, eat properly, exercise, don't yo-yo diet and take multivitamins.

lindslilac | Student

The best way to prevent any type of cancer is simply to mantain a healthy lifestyle. That includes having a well balanced diet, enough sleep, excercise, and avoiding cancerous agents (such a cigarettes, excessive sunlight, etc).

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