Tobacco use

Smoking is responsible for up to 90% of lung cancers and for about 30% of all cancer deaths. Overall, tobacco use is responsible for nearly one in five American deaths nearly 443,000 premature deaths each year. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that tobacco use is a direct cause of several types of cancer. In addition to lung and bronchial cancer, tobacco use is linked to cancer of the larynx, mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, and cervix.

Dietary Factors

Diet is one of the most important factors in cancer prevention, but it is also one of the most complex and controversial. Your food choices affect your cancer risk by both exposing you to potentially dangerous compounds and depriving you of potentially protective ones. The following dietary factors may affect cancer risk:


• Dietary fat and meat: Diets high in fat and meat may contribute to certain cancers, including colon, stomach, and prostate cancer. Certain types of fat may be riskier than others. Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats are associated with a higher risk of certain cancers; omega-3 fats are not. (See Post 8 for more information on types of fatty acids.)

• Alcohol: Alcohol is associated with an increased incidence of several cancers. For example, women who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1.5 times the risk of women who drink no alcohol. Alcohol and tobacco interact as risk factors for oral cancer. Heavy users of both alcohol and tobacco have a risk for oral cancer many times greater than that of people who don’t drink or use tobacco.

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