Is Cancer Preventable?

According to World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control, cancer is preventable and treatable. The leading causes of cancer are tobacco, infections, alcohol, obesity, and air pollutants.


–        Smoking damages DNA and causes cancer

–        Tobacco is associated with the following cancers:

o   Bladder

o   Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)

o   Cervix

o   Colon and rectum

o   Esophagus

o   Kidney and renal pelvis

o   Liver

o   Lungs, bronchi, and trachea

o   Mouth and throat

o   Pancreas

o   Stomach

o   Voice box (larynx)

–        Prevention: Smoking cessation/avoidance


–        Certain infections are associated with cancers

–        Human Papilloma Virus is associated with cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and oropharynx.

–        Chronic infections with Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can cause liver cancer

–        Prevention: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Hepatitis B vaccination, treatment of active hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections


  • Drinking alcohol increases the risk of obtaining mouth and throat cancer, voice box (larynx) cancer, esophageal cancer, colon and rectal cancer, liver cancer, and breast cancer in women.
  • The human body breaks down consumed alcohol down into a chemical called acetaldehyde.Acetaldehyde damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing the DNA damage. Damaged DNA can cause a cell to grow without control and cause cancer.
  • Prevention: avoidance of alcohol


–        Obesity is associated with the following cancers:

o   Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus

o   Breast (in post-menopausal women)

o   Colon and rectum

o   Uterus

o   Gallbladder

o   Upper stomach

o   Kidneys

o   Liver

o   Ovaries

o   Pancreas

o   Thyroid

o   Meningioma (a type of brain cancer)

o   Multiple myeloma

–        Prevention: Healthy well-balanced diet and physical activity

Air Pollutants

–        Air pollution is associated with lung cancer, urinary tract/bladder cancer

–        Prevention: Reducing exposure to outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution, including radon (a radioactive gas produced from the natural decay of uranium. Exposure to radon can occur in homes and buildings).

Sun Exposure

–        Causes cancers that include:

o   Melanoma

o   Squamous cell carcinoma of skin

o   Basal cell carcinoma of skin

–        Prevention: Includes wearing sunscreen (on skin and lips), wearing protective clothing and hats, avoiding peak sun rays at midday, and avoiding indoor tanning beds



–        Foods that are associated with cancer include processed foods, processed meats, red meat and charred food, sugar, fried foods, and alcohol

–        Red Meats and processed foods increase the risk of colorectal cancer (American Institute of Cancer Research)

–        Sugar and fast foods increase risk of obesity which increases risk of cancers

–        Prevention: Eating a balanced diet rich in healthy nutrients