Healthy Choices

Key points

You can lower your risk of getting cancer by making healthy choices.

Avoiding tobacco

Cigarette smoking

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. In the United States, cigarette smoking is linked to about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths. Tobacco use can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body. Visit to learn how you can quit smoking.

Secondhand smoke

Smoke from other people's cigarettes, pipes, or cigars (secondhand smoke) also causes lung cancer. When you breathe in secondhand smoke, it's like you are smoking.

Learn more about tobacco and cancer.

Cessation Tips from Former Smokers

"We did it. You can, too!" Three former smokers share tips that helped them quit in this video.

Protecting your skin

Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds appears to be the most important environmental factor involved with developing skin cancer. To help prevent skin cancer while still having fun outdoors, protect yourself by staying in the shade, applying sunscreen, and wearing sun-protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.

Learn more about lowering your risk for skin cancer.

Limiting alcohol intake

Drinking alcohol raises your risk of getting six kinds of cancer. The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk for cancer.

Learn more about alcohol and cancer.

Keeping a healthy weight

Photo of a family buying fresh vegetables
You can reduce your risk of getting cancer by keeping a healthy weight.

Overweight and obesity are linked with a higher risk of getting 13 types of cancer. These cancers make up 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States each year.

Learn more about obesity and cancer.

Getting tested for hepatitis C

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, which is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common type of viral hepatitis is hepatitis C. Over time, chronic hepatitis C can lead to serious liver problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer. CDC recommends that most adults get tested for hepatitis C.