Authors as Published

Susan Robinson, Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Massey Cancer Center, Richmond, Virginia

Certain things in your surroundings, or personal habits, or way of life may increase your chances of getting cancer. If you have any of the following risk factors for cancer, learn what you can do to get rid of the risks or to protect yourself.

  • Having certain viruses may increase your risk of getting some types of cancer.
  • Working around certain chemicals may increase cancer risk. If you work with chemicals, talk with a health professional about whether they put you at risk and how to protect yourself.
  • Almost all cases of skin cancer are caused by too much sun exposure! Stay out of the sun or protect yourself with a sunscreen lotion with SPF #15 or higher.
  • Tobacco is harmful in any form - smoking, chewing tobacco or dipping snuff. Smoking cigarettes is the #1 cause of lung cancer. To reduce your cancer risk, don't use tobacco products.
  • People who drink more than 2-3 beers or glasses of wine or whiskey increase their chances of getting cancers of the mouth, throat, voicebox, windpipe, neck and liver. To reduce cancer risk, either don't drink or limit alcoholic beverages to no more than 2 per day.
  • Many cancers are related to poor eating habits. Eat a variety of foods that are low in fat and high in fiber, fruits and vegetables.
  • Some cancers seem to run in families, such as colon cancer and breast cancer. If someone in your family has had colon or breast cancer, you should be sure to do the things above. Also get regular medical checkups.


Reviewed by Debra Jones, Extension Specialist, Virginia State University

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

May 1, 2009