A Look at Habits That Can Raise Your Cancer Risk

Advances in cancer care mean that more people are surviving the disease than ever before. Alongside understanding better ways of treating cancer has come more knowledge about the habits that make developing cancer more likely. Although it is not possible to completely erase your chances of getting cancer, you can dramatically reduce your chances of facing the disease and the lengthy hospital treatments associated with it by giving up these habits.


One of the worst things you can do for your overall health is smoke. In addition to causing heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, smoking is also a leading risk factor for cancer. It is not just lung cancer that is associated with smoking, as many people believe. Smoking can also increase your risk of oral, esophageal, cervix, stomach, and colorectal cancers, among others. According to the National Cancer Institute , smoking is the leading cause of cancer and of cancer deaths, so if you don’t smoke, don’t start, and if you do, talk to your doctor about ways you can quit.

Sun Exposure

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, and the reason is sun exposure. The UV radiation from the sun and from tanning beds can cause cellular changes that lead to basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma. Avoid using tanning beds, and wear SPF 15 or greater sunscreen every day. When you’re outside, reapply it every two hours or after swimming or sweating.


Eating a diet that is rich in red and processed meats is associated with a higher risk of cancer. These foods may themselves increase the chances of developing cancer, and they also contribute to obesity, which itself boosts the risk of some forms of cancer. Eating more plant-based foods and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of cancer.

The Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center Cancer Center offers comprehensive treatment services, from diagnosis through recovery. Our hospital also provides the supportive services people undergoing cancer care need, including financial counseling and pain management specialists. If you or a loved one needs more information about cancer care at our hospital in Thousand Oaks, please call (877) 888-5746.