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Lifestyle Changes That May Help Prevent Cancer

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Topic Overview


Stay at a healthy weight

If you are very overweight, your chances of getting some forms of cancer are higher. And people whose extra fat is in the waist area may be at higher risk than people whose extra fat is in the hips or thighs.

Eating a healthy diet and being more active can help you reach a healthy weight. It can be hard to change habits around eating and being active. But you can do it by taking one step at a time. To learn how, see Getting to a Healthy Weight: Lifestyle Changes.

For more help making these changes, see:

actionset.gif Healthy Eating: Starting a Plan for Change.
actionset.gif Healthy Eating: Overcoming Barriers to Change.

Stay active

Being active every day may prevent a number of cancers. And regular activity can help you get to and stay at a healthy weight, which can also help keep you from getting cancer.

Being physically active and getting enough sleep may work together to lower your cancer risk even more than activity alone, especially for women.

If you're not used to being active every day, think about taking small steps to change your habits. For more information, see:

actionset.gif Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life.
actionset.gif Fitness: Staying Active When You Have Young Children.
actionset.gif Fitness: Choosing Activities That Are Right for You.

For more ideas and tips, see:

Protect your skin

Most skin cancer is caused by too much sun. Follow these steps to help prevent skin cancer:

  • Stay out of the sun when you can, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the hours of peak ultraviolet (UV) exposure.
  • If you must go out in the sun, wear protective clothing, like a wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and pants.
  • On skin that isn't covered by clothing, use a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Use it every day, all year, even when it is cloudy. Sunscreens that say "broad-spectrum" can protect the skin from ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) rays.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UV rays.
  • Use lip balm or cream that has sun protection factor (SPF) to protect your lips from getting sunburned or developing cold sores.
  • Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps, which emit UV radiation and can cause skin damage.

For more information, see:

actionset.gif Skin Cancer: Protecting Your Skin.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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