It seems all this talk about living a healthy lifestyle has merit. Research suggests at least one-third of all cancers could be prevented, mainly by making lifestyle changes. Of course, there are some people with unhealthy habits who never get cancer, and seemingly healthy people who are diagnosed.

While there are many things about cancer that are out of our control, what about that one-third?

You have the power to help lower your risk of getting cancer by living healthier. Here’s how:

  1. Don’t smoke and keep your home smoke-free. Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of cancer. And it’s not just lung cancer, smoking can cause oral, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreatic, stomach and cervical cancer. Smoking can also cause heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and more. Nonsmokers beware, as secondhand smoke is a risk factor too.
  2. Limit alcohol. Heavy alcohol use increases the risk of liver, throat, oral, breast and colorectal cancers. Research indicates the more alcohol a person drinks regularly over time, the higher his or her risk of developing an alcohol-associated cancer. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines heavy drinking as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion for more than five days in the past 30 days. Small changes can make a big difference — cut down on your alcohol intake.
  3. Eat healthier. Having a larger waistline is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Obesity is linked to a higher risk of breast, colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, kidney and pancreatic cancers. An anti-cancer diet is made up of a variety of plant-based foods, such as deeply colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans. Stay away from processed meats, saturated fats and sugary drinks.
  4. Move more. Regular physical activity in any form helps to lower cancer risk. Add activity into your daily schedule and build on it. Take the stairs, park farther away, go for a walk — just keep moving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes for five or more days a week. Experiment with yoga, hop on your bike, pick up some weights and get moving.
  5. Get regular checkups. Regular medical checkups and screenings help prevent health problems down the line and can also detect diseases like cancer early, when they are most treatable. Immunizations, such as the hepatitis B vaccine and the HPV vaccine, also help to reduce the risk of some cancers. Ask your doctor about the right physicals, vaccinations and screenings for you. Also, pay attention to your body for any new changes and alert your doctor if you have concerns.

Your daily choices can ultimately make you healthier over time — and just may reduce your risk for cancer.