Cancer involves the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that can develop throughout the body and can be fatal if not treated.
Cancer is not a simple cause and effect. At Dignity Health Cancer Institute of Greater Sacramento, our experts are keenly aware of the many different factors that can increase or decrease your overall risk of cancer. Risk factors generally fall into things you have control over, such as smoking and exercise, and things you cannot control, including family history and age.
Knowing your risk factors is the first step in cancer prevention. Annual checkups with your doctor, as well as recommended screenings, are key to early detection and risk factor management. Find a Doctor at Dignity Health and make an appointment or call (916) 596-1644 to learn more about cancer prevention in Sacramento and surrounding areas.
Your Risk Factors for Cancer
Certain conditions and lifestyle choices or habits can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including:
- Alcohol, as the risk of cancer increases the more you drink
- Exposure to environmental toxins, radiation and to the sun with a history of sunburns
- Hormones, including estrogens and diethylstilbestrol, which some pregnant women took between 1940 and 1971 to prevent pregnancy problems
- Immunosuppression from certain medications or infectious diseases, such as HIV
- Increasing age, as most cases of cancer occur in people older than 65
- Poor diet and obesity
- Family history of cancer and hereditary family cancer syndromes
- Smoking tobacco products and secondhand smoke
- Infection with certain viruses and other pathogens
How to Reduce Your Cancer Risk in the Sacramento Region
While you can’t change your family history or age, there are other ways to lower your risk of developing cancer through these preventive measures:
- Stop smoking.
- Wear sunscreen to prevent burns and limit sun exposure.
- Maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise and a good diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables and less red meat.
- Breastfeed your baby, if possible, as this has been shown to reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
- Get recommended screenings for abnormal cells, such as the Pap test, mammogram, colonoscopy and skin cancer check.
- Drink in moderation, with no more than one drink per day for a woman and two drinks per day for a man.
Keep in mind that risk factors do not cause cancer. A person with several known risk factors may not develop cancer, and a person without any risk factors may develop cancer. Nonetheless, healthy lifestyle choices go farther than cancer prevention and can also prevent other medical conditions like heart disease.
Our trusted oncology team is committed to cancer awareness, prevention, and early detection. With screenings for early detection and personalized treatment following a cancer diagnosis, we enable you to take charge of your health. Dignity Health Cancer Institute of Greater Sacramento provides education, screening, and personal care for cancer prevention in the Sacramento region.