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What is prevention?
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered, and the hope is that this will also lower the number of deaths caused by cancer.
To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective factors. Anything that increases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that decreases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer protective factor.
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, both smoking and inheriting certain genes are risk factors for some types of cancer, but only smoking can be avoided. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective factors for some types of cancer. Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk but it does not mean that you will not get cancer.
The University of Arizona Cancer Center's mission is to prevent and cure cancer, and we offer many programs designed to help patients and their families learn more about cancer and prevention as well as take control of some risk and protective factors.
We also have one of the largest cancer prevention and control research programs in the country and even have a fellowship program to prepare scientists and clinicians to conduct cancer prevention research.