Cancer comes in all shapes and sizes. And, people of all ages can get it. But there are things you can do to protect your health. The best ways to stop cancer in its tracks are to get your cancer screenings on time and take steps each day to stay healthy.

Get checked early and often

Did you know that your chances of surviving the most common types of cancer are 80-100% if you catch them early enough? Cancer progresses in stages. It starts in one organ or place in the body. This is called “local.”

Catching cancer at the “local” stage, before it spreads anywhere else in the body, can make all the difference in your survival rate. That’s why it’s important to see your doctor for preventive health screenings at the right times.

Eat healthy and move more

Yes, you hear it over and over. But the truth is that eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise are two of the most important things you can do for your lifelong health. In fact, studies show that being overweight (having a body mass index of 25 to 29) or obese (body mass index of 30 or more), really increases your chances of getting certain cancers. These include uterine, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.

Do you know which cancer screenings are recommended for you?

  • Breast cancer screening (mammography) – recommended for women aged 40 and older
  • Cervical cancer screening (Pap tests and other gynecological exams) – recommended for women aged 18 and older
  • Colorectal cancer screening – recommended for both men and women aged 50 and older
  • Prostate cancer screening (prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test – men should discuss with their clinicians the potential benefits and harms of prostate- specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer

Cancer prevention basics

  • See your doctor for regular checkups, so you can get the screenings you need.
  • Get to and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Don’t use tobacco, and avoid cigarette smoke.
  • Use sunscreen every day.

Use sunscreen

You can protect yourself from the most common type of cancer in the U.S. — skin cancer — by simply wearing sunscreen every day. Some sun is good for your body, but too much exposure to ultraviolet rays leads to skin cancer. When you choose a sunscreen, look for one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

Also, check your skin on a regular basis. Look for any changes in the color of your skin or moles.

Stop smoking

Smoking is linked to at least ten cancers. These include lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas and urinary bladder cancer. Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death for both men and women. That’s reason enough to quit. But did you know that some health benefits of quitting are immediate? Even if you already have a smoking- related illness, you’ll see health benefits from quitting.

That said — we know quitting isn’t easy. Most people want to quit and millions try every year

It’s your body and your health

Screenings are one way to protect your health, but you also can take steps today (and every day) to fight off cancer.