What are 10 Ways to Prevent Cancer?

By Dr. Muzammil Shaikh in Nanavati Max Institute of Cancer Care

Apr 24 , 2023 | 3 min read


Cancer claims the lives of thousands of individuals every year. According to data from the National Cancer Registry Program, over 13 lakh people in India are diagnosed with cancer each year.

By 2025, the nation's cancer incidence is expected to rise by 12%, according to the ICMR-NCDIR National Cancer Registry Programme.

But there is hope despite how dangerous it is. The good news is that you have many options for reducing your chance of getting cancer. Read further to learn about cancer and the 10 ways to prevent it.

Symptoms of cancer

Some common symptoms are:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained pain
  • Changes in appetite, bowel or bladder habits
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Skin changes
  • Sores that don't heal
  • Hoarseness or cough that doesn't go away

Causes of cancer

There could be known causes and, at times, unknown causes for developing cancer. Broadly it could be one of these:

  • Genetic mutations are passed down from parents.
  • Exposure to harmful substances like tobacco, smoke, or ultraviolet radiation.
  • Lifestyle choices constitute an unhealthy eating pattern and a sedentary routine.

Different types of cancers

Many types of cancer can develop in any part of the body. A few main categories are listed below:

Breast cancer

Lung cancer

Prostate cancer

Colon and rectal cancer

Melanoma (skin) cancer

Liver (bile duct) cancer

Thyroid cancer

Pancreatic cancer

Kidney cancer

Bladder cancer

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Leukaemia (blood cancer)

Risk factors of cancer

Many risk factors contribute to the threat of developing cancer. Few are within our control, while others are not. Here are some causes:

  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Infection with certain viruses

Diagnosis of cancer

There are a few key ways that doctors can diagnose cancer. They will take a detailed medical history and perform a physical examination and tests such as blood work, imaging studies, or biopsies. Careful evaluation of all details will help arrive at a diagnosis.

Cancer treatment

Treatment options depend on the type, stage of cancer, and overall health of the patient. It could be one of the following:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy

Prevention of cancer

Here are 10 ways to prevent cancer or lower the risk:

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco: Cigarette smoking and tobacco use are responsible for mouth and lung cancer. If you don't smoke or use tobacco, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Carrying extra weight is the second leading cause of cancer. This is because excess body fat can lead to chronic inflammation, which can develop cancerous cells. 
  • Eat a healthy diet and avoid processed foods: Processed foods are typically high in sugar, fat, and salt and can contain harmful chemicals linked to cancer. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help protect against cancer.
  • Regular exercise to stay physically active: The link between cancer and physical inactivity is well established. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, around 30-40% of cancers could be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and eating a healthy diet. So get out there and start moving. Your health will thank you for it! 
  • Limit your alcohol intake: There is growing evidence that alcohol consumption can increase your risk of developing cancer. So next time you're out with friends, make sure to drink in moderation.
  • Get vaccinated: There are various vaccines available that can help prevent cancer. For example, the HPV vaccine can help protect against several types of HPV, a common cause of cervical cancer.
  • Get regular cancer screenings: Early detection and prevention are crucial to surviving cancer. Screenings can find cancer early when it is most treatable. They can also help prevent cancer by finding precancerous cells that can be removed before they turn into cancer.
  • Reduce your exposure to UV rays or toxins: The sun is the primary source of UV rays, which are harmful to the skin. UV rays can cause cancer and other diseases. You can reduce exposure to UV rays by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, staying in the shade, especially during the day.
  • Take steps to reduce stress: Acute stress can be a normal and healthy response to challenging situations, whereas chronic stress can take a toll on our minds and body. It has been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer. Taking time each day to relax and de-stress can help prevent cancer and other health problems.
  • Know your family history: If you have a family member who has had cancer, you are more at risk for developing the disease yourself. Knowing your family history can help you make lifestyle choices that can help reduce your risk.

Complications of cancer

Some of the more common complications of cancer include:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating


Cancer is a complex disease, but with advances in technology and medicine, one can certainly prevent cancer. If you or someone you know has cancer, it’s important to know that there are many support groups and resources available to help you through this difficult time.