Cancer Prevention & Screening
The cancer prevention specialists at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center want to help you reduce your risk of developing cancer.
To support that goal, we offer these tips, which are founded on scientific research —some of it conducted at Moores Cancer Center — and supported by the National Cancer Institute. We encourage you to talk with your doctors for more specific recommendations on how to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and for more detailed guidelines for cancer screenings that may be right for you.
Scientists say that lifestyle choices are responsible for an estimated 50 to 75 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.
Nutrition, weight and exercise
Numerous studies have linked nutritional factors with a risk for developing several types of cancer, and as a risk for recurrence and likelihood of survival when someone has developed cancer. The cancers most strongly associated with nutritional factors include cancer of the breast, prostate, colon and rectum, oral cavity, lung, endometrium, and cervix.
Learn more about nutrition and cancer prevention and about Moores Cancer Center's Healthy Eating Program.
- If you smoke, you need to quit. Call the California Smokers Helpline (associated with Moores Cancer Center) to get help. If you haven’t smoked for awhile, avoid temptations that may lead you to start again. Smoking causes about 30 percent of all U.S. deaths from cancer, and is linked to breast, lung, bladder, esophageal, oral, pancreas, kidney and cervical cancers.
- Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Establish a smoke-free home.
- Don’t chew tobacco.
- Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. One drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
- Limit exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest.
- Wear sun-protective clothing.
- Wear sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Wear at least SPF15, all day, even on cloudy days.
- See more information on protecting your skin.
Follow these screening guidelines to find cancer early, when there is the best chance for cure. And during your next dental checkup, ask your dentist to check your mouth and gums for any sign of oral cancers.
Learn about your family risk of cancer. Five percent to 10 percent of all cancers occur in people who have a family member with the same cancer. Knowing what cancers have been in the family is the first step toward tailored screening and preventive options. If you have a family history of cancer, see the Family Cancer Genetics Program for more information.
Avoid exposure to environmental chemicals known to cause cancer such as radon and benzene. Have your home tested for radon, an odorless gas released from rocks and soil that enters homes through cracks in the foundation. Benzene is a natural part of gasoline and cigarette smoke; exposure comes from inhaling air that contains it, so avoid smoking, secondhand smoke, and vapors from heavy traffic and gas stations as much as possible. (Radon is linked to lung cancer, and benzene is lined to leukemia.)
Information sources: Moores Cancer Center's Cancer Prevention and Control Program and the National Cancer Institute