Cancer prevention: healthy habits to help keep you safe

February 07, 2024
senior man and woman riding bicycles on path

2-minute read

There are many things that contribute to cancer risk, but keep in mind: many of the things that keep us healthy in general are the same ones that can help lower our cancer risk.

In addition, stuff we know is bad for us, like smoking, being overweight, being inactive and spending too much time in the sun, are some of the top causes of cancer. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, these are at the root of 40% of cases and nearly half of cancer deaths.

Here are some things you can do.

Know your family health history and get regular cancer screenings as recommended by your doctor

Regular cancer screenings can find cancer early, or notice abnormal cells that could become cancer. This gives you a much better chance of survival.

Knowing your family health history helps you and your doctor choose which tests to consider, and when to get them. The National Cancer Institute recommends screening for breast, cervical, colon and lung cancers.

Don’t smoke

Tobacco use is the top cause of preventable death. It leads to cancer, stroke, heart disease and many other diseases. Smoking and secondhand smoke cause 90% of lung cancer deaths in the U.S.

The HealthSelect of Texas® medical plans, including Consumer Directed HealthSelectSM, have two programs to quit tobacco through Well onTarget®. In either, you do six weeks of interactive content at your own pace. Both count toward the ERS Choose to Quit program.

Protect your skin from the sun

Skin cancer is the most common and preventable cancer in the U.S. Be sure to use sunscreen year-round. Never use indoor tanning beds.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association has a skin cancer body mole map that shows how to check for signs of skin cancer. You can also get a skin cancer screening at your annual checkup.

Stay at a healthy weight

Overweight and obesity are linked to at least 13 types of cancer, like uterine, breast and colorectal. Maintain a healthy weight, get active and eat healthily to lower your risk. For extra support, eligible HealthSelect participants can sign up for one of two weight management programs.

Benefits questions?

Call BCBSTX Personal Health Assistants toll-free at (800) 252-8039 (TTY: 711), Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. CT. and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. CT.

You can also use secure chat and secure messaging Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., after logging into Blue Access for MembersSM.