When it comes to cancer, early detection is the absolute best form of prevention. As a patient, you can take steps to prevent or identify cancer in its early stages.

“Patients don’t always realize they can reduce their cancer risk by taking a few simple measures,” says Baidehi Maiti, MD, PhD, an oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Richard E. Jacobs Health Center and Lorain Family Health and Surgery Center

Get screened:  Regular screenings are important in cancer detection. “Screenings that are beneficial to the patient should begin at their early checkup,” recommends Dr. Maiti. Which screenings you have, and when, will depend not only on your age and gender, but also on other risk factors.

Know your family history:  Family history is much more than a trip down memory lane. Your genes play a major role in many types of cancer. If cancer runs in your family, earlier screening can make a major difference in detection and prevention.  Lynch Syndrome, a genetic condition, raises a lifetime risk of colon cancer to around 80 percent compared to the general population. “Genetic conditions increase the need for much earlier intervention,” explains Dr. Maiti.

Control what you eat:  Plenty of risk factors, including your genes, are beyond your control. That is all the more reason to eliminate the risk factors that you alone control. Certain lifestyle changes and choices can make a difference in preventing cancer:

Don’t smoke, this lowers your risk of lung, bladder and other cancers.

Opt out of tanning beds or excessive sunbathing to reduce your chance of developing skin cancer.

Drink only in moderation to minimize your risk of liver cancer.

Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet to reduce the likelihood of breast cancer and other cancers.

Patients can help to prevent some, but not all, forms of cancer. “It’s important that they realize certain lifestyle changes and screenings can save their lives,” says Dr. Maiti

Source: The Chronicle-Telegram newspaper in Elyria, Ohio 6-19-2016