Cancer Prevention Overview (PDQ®)–Patient Version
- What is Prevention?
- Risk Factors
- Interventions That are Known to Lower Cancer Risk
- Interventions That Are Not Known to Lower Cancer Risk
- About This PDQ Summary
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What is Prevention?
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. In 2014, about 1.6 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States. In addition to the physical problems and emotionaldistress caused by cancer, the high costs of care are also a burden to patients, their families, and to the public. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer is lowered. Hopefully, this will reduce the burden of cancer and lower the number of deaths caused by cancer.
Cancer is not a single disease but a group of related diseases. Many things in our genes, our lifestyle, and the environment around us may increase or decrease our risk of getting cancer.
Scientists are studying many different ways to help prevent cancer, including the following:
- Ways to avoid or control things known to cause cancer.
- Changes in diet and lifestyle.
- Finding precancerous conditions early. Precancerous conditions are conditions that may become cancer.
- Chemoprevention (medicines to treat a precancerous condition or to keep cancer from starting).
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