in This secTion You WiLL Learn:
• more Than haLf of u.s. cancer deaThs
are a resuLT of Preven TabLe causes.
• no T using Tobacco is The singLe bes T
WaY a Person can Preven T cancer
• uP To one-Third of aLL ne W cancer
diagnoses in The uni Ted sTaTes are
reLaTed To being overWeighT or obese,
Ph YsicaL inac Tivi TY, and/or Poor
die Tar Y habi Ts.
• man Y cases of sKin cancer couLd be
PrevenTed bY ProTecTing The sKin from
uLTravioLe T radiaTion from The sun
and indoor Tanning devices.
• infec Tion WiTh manY KnoWn cancer-
causing Pa Thogens can be Preven Ted
b Y vaccina Tion or managed b Y
• deveLoPing a PersonaLized cancer
Preven Tion and earLY de TecTion PLan
Wi Th Your heaLTh care Prac Ti Tioners
can heLP Preven T cancer before i T
sTar Ts or inTercePT i T earLY in i Ts
deveLoPmen T, When i T can be more
easiLY and successfuLLY Trea Ted.
Factors that increase the chance that a cell will acquire a
genetic mutation consequently increase the chance that a
cell will become cancerous and are referred to as cancer risk
factors (see sidebar on Why Me? Why This Cancer?, p. 19).
Decades of research have led to the identification of many
cancer risk factors (see Figure 8, p. 34), which, in turn, has
taught us that many cases of cancer are preventable ( 34).
In the United States, many of the greatest reductions in
cancer morbidity and mortality have been achieved by
translating discoveries of cancer risk factors into effective
new public education and policy initiatives. For example,
major public education and policy initiatives to combat
cigarette smoking have been credited with preventing
eight million premature deaths from 1964 to 2014 ( 35)
(see Figure 9, p. 35), and policy initiatives that minimize
exposure to other cancer risk factors, such as asbestos and
pollutants, have also played a role.
Policies, whether implemented by schools, workplaces,
businesses, or government—local, state, or federal—work
by helping to create environments that allow individuals
to more easily adopt a lifestyle that promotes cancer
prevention. Thus, it is imperative that everyone work
together to develop and implement new, more effective
public education and policy initiatives to help reduce the
burden of cancer further, in particular the burden from
those cancers related to preventable causes.
In addition, a great deal more research and more resources
are needed to understand why some individuals are
refractory to public education and policy initiatives and
how best to help these individuals eliminate or reduce their
risk of some cancers.
Eliminate Tobacco Use
Tobacco use is responsible for almost 30 percent of cancers
diagnosed in the United States each year ( 34) (see Figure
8, p. 34). Therefore, one of the most effective ways a person
can lower his or her risk of developing cancer, as well as
other smoking-related conditions such as cardiovascular,
metabolic, and lung diseases, is to eliminate tobacco use
(see sidebar on Reasons to Eliminate Tobacco Use, p. 35).
Since the relationship between tobacco use and cancer was
first brought to the public’s attention in 1964, when the
“U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health”
more than 50%
of u.s. cancer deaths are related to