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How to Prevent Cancer or Find It Early

You can lower your risk of getting many common kinds of cancer by making healthy choices. Screening tests can find some cancers early, when treatment works best. Vaccines (shots) can help prevent several kinds of cancer. Learn more about how to lower your risk of getting cancer.

Screening Tests

Getting screening tests regularly may find breast, cervical, and colorectal (colon) cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best. Lung cancer screening is recommended for some people who are at high risk.

Breast Cancer

Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.

Cervical Cancer

The Pap test can find abnormal cells in the cervix which may turn into cancer. The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes. Pap tests also can find cervical cancer early, when the chance of being cured is very high.

Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.

Vaccines (Shots)

Vaccines (shots) also help lower cancer risk. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and several other kinds of cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine can help lower liver cancer risk.

Some cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted infection. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause these cancers.

  • HPV vaccination is recommended for preteens aged 11 to 12 years, but can be given starting at age 9.
  • HPV vaccine also is recommended for everyone through age 26 years, if they are not vaccinated already.
  • HPV vaccination is not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years. However, some adults age 27 through 45 years who are not already vaccinated may decide to get the HPV vaccine after speaking with their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and the possible benefits of vaccination.
  • HPV vaccination in this age range provides less benefit, as more people have already been exposed to HPV.

HPV vaccination prevents new HPV infections, but does not treat existing infections or diseases. This is why the HPV vaccine works best when given before any exposure to HPV.

The HPV vaccine does not substitute for routine cervical cancer screening tests (Pap and HPV tests), according to recommended screening guidelines.

Healthy Choices

You can reduce your risk of getting cancer by making healthy choices like keeping a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco, limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, and protecting your skin.

Cigarette Smoking

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. In the United States, cigarette smoking is linked to about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths. Tobacco use can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body.

Secondhand Smoke

Smoke from other people’s cigarettes, pipes, or cigars (secondhand smoke) also causes lung cancer. When a person breathes in secondhand smoke, it is like he or she is smoking.

Protecting Your Skin

Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds appears to be the most important environmental factor involved with developing skin cancer.

To help prevent skin cancer while still having fun outdoors, protect yourself by staying in the shade, applying sunscreen, and wearing sun-protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.

Limiting Alcohol Intake

Drinking alcohol raises your risk of getting six kinds of cancer. The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk for cancer.

Keeping a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or having obesity are linked with a higher risk of getting 13 types of cancer. These cancers make up 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States each year.

Getting Tested for Hepatitis C

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, which is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common type of viral hepatitis is Hepatitis C. Over time, chronic Hepatitis C can lead to serious liver problems including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer. CDC recommends that most adults get tested for Hepatitis C.

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SOURCE : CDC.GOV