Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides information and answers for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
Most cancers in teens do not have a known cause, so it’s not possible to prevent all of them. But some can be prevented.
Unlike with many cancers in older adults, lifestyle-related risk factors (such as smoking) are not thought to play much of a role in cancers in teens. A few environmental factors, such as radiation exposure, have been linked with cancer risk in teens. But some exposures may be unavoidable, such as if a child needs radiation therapy to treat cancer.
There are some things you can do to lower your risk of getting certain kinds of cancer, such as:
While lifestyle-related and environmental risk factors don’t have a large effect on cancers in teens, exposure to these risk factors during the teenage years can still increase a person’s risk of getting cancer as they get older. It’s important to develop and maintain healthy habits early in life, such as not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, keeping active, and eating a healthy diet. Healthy habits like these can also lower your risk for many other types of health problems later on.
Some vaccines might lower a person’s risk of getting cancer. For instance, a vaccine series is available to help prevent infection with HPV (human papillomavirus), the group of viruses linked to cervical and 5 other cancers. Even though these cancers are more likely to develop later in life, these vaccines work best if they are given between age 9 and 12. Children and young adults age 13 to 26 who have not yet received the HPV vaccine, or who haven't gotten all their doses, should get vaccinated as soon as possible. For more information, see HPV Vaccines and HPV and Cancer.
Vaccines can also help prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Chronic infection with HBV is linked with an increased risk of liver cancer later in life.
Rarely, people inherit gene mutations that make them very likely to get certain kinds of cancer at an early age. In such cases, some people and their doctors might decide on surgery to remove an organ before cancer has a chance to develop there. Again, this is not common.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Bleyer A. Young adult oncology: The patients and their survival challenges. CA Cancer J Clin. 2007;57:242-255.
Saslow D, Andrews KS, Manassaram-Baptiste D, et al. Human papillomavirus vaccination 2020 guideline update: American Cancer Society guideline adaptation. CA Cancer J Clin. 2020; DOI: 10.3322/caac.21616.
Last Revised: July 8, 2020