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September 2021

What You Need to Know About Cancer Prevention

Don’t smoke. Don’t sunbathe.When it comes to cancer prevention, you’re probably aware of some key ways to keep the big C at bay. However, research shows that many people don’t know about other lifestyle factors that can affect their risk of developing the disease. Here are 3 you should know about and what you can do to reduce your cancer risk.

Male in exercise clothes doing a leg stretch outside on a park trail


Being obese is linked with 12 different types of cancer. Second only to not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the best thing you can do to decrease your cancer risk. One important way to do that is with physical activity, which also slashes your cancer risk. Aim for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week. If adding activity to your daily life seems overwhelming, rest assured that you don’t have to do it all at once. Find a few empty time slots in your weekly schedule for exercise. Whether it’s 30 minutes or 5 minutes, every little bit makes a difference.

Processed and red meats

Regularly eating processed or cured meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, ham, and lunch meats, raises your risk for certain types of cancer, such as colorectal. Eating lots of red meat, which includes pork, lamb, and beef, increases your colorectal cancer risk, too. Aim to reduce your weekly intake of red meat to less than 12 to 18 ounces.


Drinking alcohol is linked with several different types of cancer, including breast and liver. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk for cancer. If you drink and smoke, you raise your risk even more. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks per day if you’re a man or 1 drink per day if you’re a woman.



Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph Gonella, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2021
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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