Stop using tobacco

Kick the habit once and for all. Smoking or using chewing tobacco puts you at risk of several types of cancer. Stopping now could reduce your risk of cancer recurrence and also lower your risk of developing a second type of cancer (second primary cancer).

If you've tried quitting in the past but haven't had much success, seek help. Talk to your doctor about resources to help you quit.

Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all

If you drink alcohol, keep it to a minimum. Women should drink no more than one drink a day, and men no more than two drinks a day.

Alcohol does have health benefits in some people — for instance, consuming a drink a day can reduce your risk of heart disease. But it also increases the risk of certain cancers, including those of the mouth and throat. While it isn't clear whether drinking alcohol can cause cancer recurrence, it can increase your risk of a second primary cancer.

Weigh the risks and benefits of drinking alcohol and talk it over with your doctor.

Do what you can

While you may worry that it will take an entire overhaul of your lifestyle to achieve all these goals, do what you can and make changes slowly. Easing into a healthy diet or regular exercise can make it more likely that you'll stick with these changes for the rest of your life.

Oct. 12, 2011 See more In-depth