Ten Household Tips to Preventing Cancer


10 Household tips for cancer prevention

Cancer prevention starts with a healthy lifestyle. That means not smoking or using tobacco products, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, practicing safe sex and getting appropriate vaccinations.

Don’t forget that your environment also plays an important role. Here are some simple actions you can take in and around your home to help reduce your family’s risk of cancer.

1. Protect yourself from the sun

Clothing – shirts, hats and pants – and sunscreen can help protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. These precautions are especially important when the sun is high in the sky and most intense. EWG’s sunscreen guide can help you find safe, effective products.

2. Keep a clean home

Dust is a reservoir for many toxic chemicals and can be a source of exposure, particularly for children who spend a lot of time on or close to the floor and often put their hands in their mouths. Regular cleaning with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner and dusting in a way that removes dust, rather than stirring it up, can reduce indoor exposures. In older buildings, lead paint, asbestos-containing materials (flooring and insulation) and older electrical equipment can pose risks. Lead and asbestos removal should only be done with extreme caution and by a professional.

3. Find alternatives to pesticides

Pesticides have been linked to a variety of cancers including prostate, leukemia, lymphoma, and childhood cancers. Control insects by not leaving food out and cleaning up crumbs or spills, keeping your home dry (using a dehumidifier if you have a basement) and keeping the foundation clear of dirt, plants and debris. Mulch, landscaping fabrics and homemade solutions of vinegar and/or soap are good ways to suppress weeds without using chemicals.

4. Keep indoor air clean

When you tackle a home improvement project, use products made without volatile organic compounds such as low-VOC paints and keep work areas well ventilated. Avoid laminates and other composite wood products that contain formaldehyde. Air pollution from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves can also be a serious issue. Choose clean-burning stoves or inserts and make sure they are properly ventilated, with no leaks in the chimney or exhaust pipes. Finally, you shouldn’t ever smoke, but certainly don’t do it in your home.

5. Filter drinking water

Tap water can contain low levels of metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, nitrates and disinfection by-products (chemicals formed when the chlorine utilities use to treat water reacts with organic material). Simple carbon filters can remove many of these contaminants. If arsenic or nitrates are a major concern, consider more expensive options such as reverse osmosis filters or distillation.

6. Look for alternatives to harsh cleaners

Solutions of soap or vinegar in water can be simple and effective cleaners. EWG’s cleaners guide can help identify less toxic products on the market.

7. Check for radon

Radon, a naturally occurring gas that can seep into your house from the ground, is a known carcinogen. Professional radon testing and commercial kits are readily available.

8. Cook clean

Today’s non-stick cookware is much improved, but it doesn’t last forever. Scratched or worn cookware can release toxic chemicals into your food and air, as can pre-heating non-stick cookware at high temperatures. Don’t heat food or drinks in plastic containers; they can leach chemicals into your food. And be aware that charring meat, especially red meat, can produce cancer-causing chemicals known as heterocyclic amines.

9. Check for mold

Mold is toxic to your health and your home. It can be a sign of excessive moisture. In addition to being a cancer hazard, the toxins produced by mold can cause serious acute and chronic respiratory disease.

10. Be mindful of personal-care products and medicines

The ingredients in personal-care products are largely unregulated and can contain known carcinogens such as formaldehyde and endocrinedisrupting chemicals such as phthalates and parabens. EWG’s Skin Deep® can help you find products without these problematic chemicals. Estrogen-promoting medications, including hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives, have been linked to small increases in the risk of breast cancer. You should carefully consider the risks and benefits with your doctor.


Improving Cancer Prevention and Control: How State Health Agencies Can Support Patient Navigators and Community Health Workers (9 pg; Astho brief  created by Amy Ramsay, MS, with support from Julia Schneider, MPH.)

2012 The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials 2231 Crystal Drive, Suite 450 Arlington, VA 22202 Phone: 202-371-9090 | Fax: 571-527-3189

Cancer Patient Navigator

Core Competencies for Non- Clinically Licenced Patient Navigators (October, 2014)( 5 pages see outline below)

From the  The George Washington University-(GW) Cancer Institute Authors: Pratt- Chapman ML, Willis LA, Masselink (Funder AVON)

  1. Patient Care
  2. Knowledge For Practice
  3. Practice- Based Learning and Improvement
  4. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  5. Professionalism
  6. Systems-Based Practice
  7. Interprofessional Collaboration
  8. Personal and Professional Development

Familias Fuertes

Familias Fuertes is a comprehensive training resource for a community-based organization to equip promotores de salud (promotores) with knowledge and skills to support a Latino family with a child coping with cancer. Children coping with cancer include children who have pediatric cancer or children who have a close family member (e.g., parent, sibling) with cancer. The Familias Fuertes training guide is bilingual English/Spanish.

Familias Fuertes trains promotores across seven one-hour sessions:

Session 1: Introductions
Session 2: Cancer and Its Impact on Children
Session 3: Overcoming Barriers and Understanding Client Needs
Session 4: Resources for Children Coping With Cancer
Session 5: Communicating With Children, Families, and Schools
Session 6: Assistance During Treatment
Session 7: Remission and Beyond

After completing Familias Fuertes, promotoras will have:

The knowledge to…

  • Explain cancer in age-specific and culturally-appropriate ways.
  • Identify and explain available treatment options for cancer.
  • Explain possible treatment side-effects.
  • Understand the mental, physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities and issues of children coping with cancer.

The skills to

  • Talk to children about what they are experiencing in an age-specific and culturally-appropriate manner.
  • Conduct a needs assessment of a child coping with cancer to determine the resources and support he or she needs.
  • Research available resources to support the child coping with cancer throughout diagnosis, treatment, and remission.
  • Liaise with the child’s school and related professionals (e.g., social worker) to arrange for continuing education in the event of absences from school.
  • Help parents and children talk openly and effectively about their feelings.
  • Discuss end-of-life or palliative care choices.
  • Help children resume their former lives after treatment.

Coping Engine 

The Coping Engine is a teaching tool intended to help people handle moments of distress with greater ease. It was originally developed in the 1990’s, at Stanford University Medical Center’s Department of Radiation Oncology by Patricia Fobair, LCSW, MPH. During Fobair’s experience with breast cancer in 1987, she felt confronted with negative feelings and defensive coping, less equipped to find solutions to the day-to-day problems that came along during treatment. It occurred to her that she had not learned to talk about negative feelings as a child; she would do well to face those feelings and thoughts. When moments of feeling ‘helpless’ arose, she realized that only “very small children are really helpless.” Adults have some action available to them, calling a friend, seeking advice, or problem solving.

Welcome to the Coping Engine. The coping circles will help you find solutions to problems that are causing you emotional distress. Sometimes all we know is that we feel upset, “out of control.” This is not comfortable and we do not want those feelings to last. Here, is a tool to start feeling better today. Take these steps to face your emotions, manage your fear, and move towards choices that will help you feel better, and direct you towards solutions to the underlying problem.

This website is designed to help you find solutions to problems causing you emotional distress.




Cervical Cancer Patient Education 

Patient education materials about cervical cancer and pap testing in multiple languages and formats.

UAB School of Medicine: Division of Preventive Medicine

Cancer Prevention and Control

The overall goal of this program is to reduce cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality, and improve outcomes, with special emphasis on health disparities. The program also provides research training for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty through the Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center training programs.

Current Projects

Current projects include behavioral intervention studies, prevention trials, observational and outcomes studies, cancer surveillance, and community-based research with a strong track record in the use of community health workers (CHW) and volunteers. The program has a significant number of scientists with research focus on African American and Hispanic populations. The Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared Facility of the Cancer Center is an integral part of this program.


The studies conducted are collaborative and multi-disciplinary and capitalize on the strengths that UAB provides in its broad spectrum of researchers and scientists, including faculty at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Health Promotion.

Faculty with a secondary research interest in this area are: