Cancer Prevention During Early Life

Cancer Prevention During Early Life

This video invites you to learn about early life factors that contribute to a person’s lifetime cancer risk.

CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control sponsored a special issue in the journal Pediatricsexternal icon about factors from before birth through early childhood that may affect a person’s chance of getting cancer. The authors of papers in this issue are experts from many different professions, showing the importance of working together to address potential cancer causes and risk factors.

Cancer is caused by a combination of factors over time. One of the papers provides highlights from meetings with nationally recognized expertsexternal icon about possible opportunities for cancer prevention early in life. Research suggests that we can take steps today to protect the health of babies and young children, and reduce their chances of getting cancer in the future.

Encouraging Behaviors That May Lower Cancer Risk

Reducing Harmful Exposures

  • Avoiding alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy.
  • Keeping children away from secondhand smoke.
  • Reducing exposure to traffic-related air pollution.
  • Avoiding exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer.
  • Limiting the amount of radiation used during certain medical tests, like CT (computed tomography) scans.
  • Learning about your family’s history of exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES).
  • Preventing adverse childhood experiences.

Articles in Supplement

Page last reviewed: September 1, 2021