How can I prevent cancer

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The direct causes of most cancers are not known.

Healthy living can prevent many cancers. This means eating nutritious food and avoiding things that may cause cancer. For example:

Do not smoke or chew tobacco.

Try to avoid harmful chemicals in your home or workplace, including foods grown or preserved with them.

Breast lumps are very common in most women, especially soft, fluid-filled ones (called cysts). These usually change during a woman’s monthly cycle, and sometimes feel sore or painful when pressed. Few breast lumps are cancer. But since breast cancer is always a possibility, a woman should try to examine her breasts for lumps once a month.

Cancer of the liver can be caused by hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis B and C can be prevented by having safer sex and not sharing needles. Also, there is a vaccine for hepatitis B. Babies can be vaccinated at birth. Adults can be vaccinated at any time.

A new vaccine, called ‘HPV vaccine’, to protect youth against cervical cancer has been developed and is in use in many countries. It must be given to girls before they start having sexual intercourse. Ask a health worker if it is available where you live.

IMPORTANT: Cancer can be cured if it is found and treated early. Finding cancer early can often save a woman’s life, because she can get early treatment, before the cancer spreads. Go to cancer screenings in local health services if available in your area.

  • Burns, A. A., Niemann, S., Lovich, R., Maxwell, J., & Shapiro, K. (2014). Where women have no doctor: A health guide for women. Hesperian Foundation.
  • Audiopedia ID: en011404