Doctors can't always explain why one person gets cancer and another doesn't. But, scientists have studied basic patterns of cancer to learn what things in our lives may increase our chances of getting cancer.
You can avoid some of the risk factors for cancer, but there are many that you can't avoid.
For example, you can choose to avoid or quit smoking. You can't choose which genes your parents have passed on to you.
Both smoking and inheriting certain genes could be risk factors for certain kinds of cancer, but only smoking is a risk you can avoid.
Prevention means avoiding the risk factors and increasing the protective factors that you can control to help reduce the chance of getting cancer.
Although you can avoid many risk factors, keep in mind that this doesn't guarantee you won't get cancer.
Some people are more sensitive than others to factors that can cause cancer. Also, most people with a particular risk factor for cancer don't get the disease.
Talk to your doctor about methods of preventing cancer that might work for you.