Doctors can seldom explain why one person gets endocrine cancer and another doesn't, but we do know that the disease is not contagious. You can’t "catch" endocrine cancer from another person. Scientists do not know exactly what causes this disease, but research does show that some people are more likely to develop it than others. Some endocrine cancers are inherited (run in the family). If there is a strong family history of endocrine cancers of the same type – or of different types – you may also have a tendency to develop a cancer of this type.

Your lifestyle can have a major impact on preventing any type of cancer. Diet and exercise are especially important. Here are some recommendations from the OSU CCC-James:

  • Do not use tobacco in any form.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Avoid being overweight and limit weight gain during adulthood.
  • Make sure you get regular physical activity. Exercise for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. Brisk walking is an ideal exercise for most adults.
  • Consume a plant-based diet. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and minimally processed grains and cereals each day.
  • Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eat at least five or more servings per day. A typical serving is equivalent to one average-sized whole fruit or vegetable, such as an apple or a tomato. One cup of any raw, chopped fruit or vegetable, such as lettuce or fruit salad, is considered one serving. If the fruit or vegetable is cooked, as in tomato sauce or cooked spinach, one-half cup is a serving.
  • Eat at least six servings per day of breads, cereals and grains. Choose whole grains that are minimally processed. Try to reduce intake of highly refined sugars and carbohydrates. A serving is one slice of bread or half a bagel; ½ cup cooked pasta, rice or beans; and ¾ cup of most cereals.
  • Alcohol consumption is not recommended. If alcohol is used at all, it is recommended that women consume no more than one drink per day and men no more than two.
  • Red meat should be consumed in moderation. Three ounces or less of red meat per day is recommended. Fish and poultry are good alternates, as they have less saturated fat.
  • Keep total fat in your diet at less than 30 percent of total calories. Also, saturated fat should make up less than 10 percent of total calories. For a person who consumes 2,000 calories per day, this would equal 66 grams of total fat with 22 grams of saturated or hydrogenated fat.
  • Use salt in moderation. In general, it is recommended that salt consumption should be less than 6 grams per day. That means that total sodium intake for one day would be 2,400 milligrams (mg). Note that one teaspoon of salt has just over 2,300 mg of sodium. Many processed and fast foods, like some soups and frozen dinners, have over 1,500 mg per serving. Pay attention to food labels. Try using herbs and spices to season foods in the place of salt.
  • Prepare, preserve and store foods safely. Minimize intake of charred, smoked and excessively cooked foods. Use refrigeration and other methods of storage to preserve perishable food.
  • Be cautious with dietary supplement use. Supplements are probably not needed if you follow these recommendations. However, a standard multivitamin that provides 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance is safe for most people. Taking a multivitamin provides reasonable assurance that daily nutrition needs are met.
  • Additives and residues. When levels of additives, contaminants and other residues are properly regulated, their presence in food and drink is not known to be harmful.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: