Cancer prevention and screening

Using prevention, screening and information to combat the disease

Learning about the major risk factors helps to improve cancer prevention and screening

Cancer develops when cell DNA changes. These changes may purely be down to chance, or may be caused by infection with certain viruses or bacteria, contact with a toxin or even one or more genes being unstable. Proliferation of these cells may lead to a tumor forming. The tumor will gradually invade the host organ, altering how it works. Lymph nodes close to the infected organ then harden. If the malignant cells break out and spread into the lymphatic system, we refer to this as metastasis.

40% of cancers are ‘preventable’

40% of cancers are thought to be caused by behavioral and environmental factors, particularly by a poor diet, smoking and alcohol. Exposure to natural and artificial substances, known as mutagens, can lead to damage to cell DNA. These substances may be chemical, with exposure occurring in a work (asbestos) or environmental context (pesticides and parabens), ionizing radiation (radioactivity), solar radiation (UV rays), viruses (papillomavirus in the case of cervical cancer, Hepatitis B for the liver) and bacteria (Helicobacter pylori in the stomach).

Adopting a healthy lifestyle

The research is unanimous. Smoking aids the development of cancer (lung, esophageal, breast and throat cancer). According to cancer specialists, smoking is the cause of 80% of lung cancers. Drinking two glasses of wine a day can increase the risk of cancer from 5-10% with the presence of a carcinogen being the cause – ethanol.

Consuming an excess of certain types of food can also lead to cancer. A balanced (in fiber) and varied diet helps to reduce this risk, while also combating excess weight, another risk factor for chronic disease, including cancer. Recent research has found that excessive consumption of red meat and delicatessen meats (over 500g a week) over many years can increase the risk of bowel cancer, while fruit, vegetables and some spices conversely offer protection. The combination of turmeric and milk thistle prevents cancer cells in the colon from proliferating.

Screening for early-stage cancers before symptoms even appear

Three out of four of the most common cancers are easy to detect Breast cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer can be detected swiftly at an early stage, with mammograms being used to detect breast cancer, a blood test utilized for prostate cancer and bowel cancer being picked up when blood appears in the stools. On the other hand, lung cancer is the most silent of the common cancers.

The medical team undertakes a test to check if the tumor has spread outside the organ via the lymph nodes or through metastasis. The team suggests a care plan and appropriate treatment, if necessary with surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiotherapy.


Institut National du Cancer, Prévention des cancers
Institut National du Cancer, Les dernières avancées
Institut National du Cancer, Réduire les risques du cancer
Cancer Environnement, Les cancers


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