Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Cancer Prevention Overview (PDQ®)

Patient Version
Last Modified: 04/17/2014

Interventions That are Known to Lower Cancer Risk

An intervention is a treatment or action taken to prevent or treat disease, or improve health in other ways. Many studies are being done to find ways to keep cancer from starting or recurring (coming back).

Chemoprevention is being studied in patients who have a high risk of developing cancer.

Chemoprevention is the use of substances to lower the risk of cancer, or keep it from recurring. The substances may be natural or made in the laboratory. Some chemopreventive agents are tested in people who are at high risk for a certain type of cancer. The risk may be because of a precancerous condition, family history, or lifestyle factors.

Some chemoprevention studies have shown good results. For example, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS) such as tamoxifen or raloxifene have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk. Finasteride and dutasteride have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

See the following PDQ summaries for more information:

New ways to prevent cancer are being studied in clinical trials.

Chemoprevention agents that are being studied in clinical trials include COX-2 inhibitors. They are being studied for the prevention of colorectal and breast cancer. Aspirin is being studied for the prevention of colorectal cancer.

See the following PDQ summaries for more information:

Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. Check NCI's PDQ Cancer Clinical Trials Registry for cancer prevention trials that are now accepting patients.

See the NCI Web site for more information about cancer prevention.