Cancer Prevention

Part of: Cancer Care

There are no proven ways to completely prevent cancer, as many risk factors, such as genetic mutations, age, and family history, can lead to the disease.

Researchers are still studying in-depth on the impact of methods known to potentially lower the risk of getting cancer. These include:

  • Diet and lifestyle modifications
  • Avoidance of cancer-causing substances
  • Use of medicines to treat precancerous conditions

Nevertheless, it is advisable to adopt healthy habits to help minimise the possibility.

Learn how you can modify your lifestyle to reduce your risk, and find out the truths behind cancer prevention theories.

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Many studies have linked smoking or chewing tobacco with different types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney.

Long-term exposure to second-hand smoke can also increase your risk of developing lung cancer.

Eating large amounts of processed meat can slightly increase the risk of certain types of cancer, according to the World Health Organisation.

Try to limit your consumption of processed or preserved foods such as ham, bacon, hot dogs, luncheon meat, salted fish and pickled vegetables.

People who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk for many diseases, including at least 13* types of cancers such as thyroid cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, and gallbladder cancer.

Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to control and maintain a healthy weight. As a general guideline, try to have at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

*Source: National Cancer Institute

Overexposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is often linked to an increased risk of skin cancer. Some general tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid the midday sun. Stay out of the sun between 10am and 4pm, when the sun's rays are the strongest.
  • Cover exposed areas. Wear tightly-woven, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible.
  • Don't skip on sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every few hours if you are swimming or perspiring.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps. The UV rays that emit from these alternative sources are just as harmful as those from the sun.

Some vaccines can help to protect against viral infections that may lead to the development of certain types of cancer. These include:

  • Hepatitis B vaccine. This protects against the hepatitis B virus, which can cause liver cancer. It is generally recommended for adults who are sexually active but not in a mutually monogamous relationship, people with sexually transmitted infections, people who use intravenous drugs, or healthcare workers at high risk of contact with blood or bodily fluids.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. This protects against human papillomavirus, which, if remained in the body for or a long time, can cause some types of cervical or vaginal cancers.

Go for regular health screening, such as cancer screening, to increase your chances of discovering cancer at its earliest stage, when treatment is most likely to be successful.

Learn more about common screening tests for cancer, or find a suitable cancer screening package available at Parkway Shenton clinics.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.