Lifestyle Modifications and Policy Implications for Primary and Secondary Cancer Prevention: Diet, Exercise, Sun Safety, and Alcohol Reduction

Noelle K. LoConte, Jeffrey E. Gershenwald, Cynthia A. Thomson, Tracy E. Crane, Gil E. Harmon, Ruth Rechis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Improved cancer treatments and cancer detection methods are not likely to completely eradicate the burden of cancer. Primary prevention of cancer is a logical strategy to use to control cancer while also seeking novel treatments and earlier detection. Lifestyle modification strategies to improve primary prevention and risk reduction for the development of cancer include choosing a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant sources, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life, being physically active, regularly using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing, limiting sun exposure during the hours of 10 AM to 2 PM, avoiding indoor tanning, and reducing or eliminating alcohol use. In addition to continued use of ongoing education of the public, health care providers, and cancer support communities, other policy and public health efforts should be pursued as well. Examples of supported and successful policy approaches are included in this article, including efforts to limit indoor tanning and improve community-wide interventions to reduce ultraviolet radiation exposure as well as to formally support various alcohol policy strategies including increasing alcohol taxes, reducing alcohol outlet density, improving clinical screening for alcohol use disorders, and limiting youth exposure to alcohol marketing and advertising. These prevention strategies are expected to have the largest impact on the development of melanoma as well as breast, colorectal, head and neck, liver, and esophageal cancers. The impact of these strategies as secondary prevention is less well understood. Areas of additional needed research and implementation are also highlighted. Future areas of needed research are the effects of these modifications after the diagnosis of cancer (as secondary prevention).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-100
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology educational book. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Annual Meeting
Issue number38
StatePublished - May 23 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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