The Oncology team at King’s Daughters would like you to know that February is Cancer Prevention Month — the perfect time to learn more about steps you can take to reduce your cancer risk.
The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that one-third of the most common cancers in the U.S. could be prevented if Americans moved more, weighed less and ate more healthfully. That translates to about 374,000 cancers every year that could be avoided. If you add prevention measures such as quitting tobacco use and avoiding sun damage, the number of cancers in the U.S. that could be prevented climbs to half!
You can make smart choices today that may help reduce your cancer risk tomorrow!
1) Quit tobacco
According to the American Cancer Society, the benefits of stopping smoking begin almost immediately. By year five, oral and bladder cancer risk is cut in half and cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. By year 10, risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person still smoking.
2) Eat healthy
Eat well and maintain a healthy weight. Nearly 20 percent of all cancers in the U.S. are related to excess body fat, inactivity, alcohol consumption and poor nutrition, reports the World Cancer Research Fund.
3) Get moving
Physical activity reduces cancer risk by helping individuals achieve/maintain a healthy weight, improving key hormone levels and strengthening the immune system, says the ACS.
4) Protect skin
The Skin Cancer Foundation projects 76,380 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed and 10,130 melanoma-related deaths will take place in the U.S. this year. Prevention means avoiding the midday sun, wearing hats and long sleeves and applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. No one should use tanning beds or sunlamps.
5) Get screened
Cancer screenings give people the chance to find a cancer early, when it’s easiest to treat.
Five screening recommendations from the American Cancer Society:
• Breast Cancer: Women who are at average risk for breast cancer should start regular annual screening mammography at age 40. Mammograms should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer. Beginning at age 20, women should talk with their doctor about clinical breast exams and breast self-exams.
• Cervical Cancer: Women from age 21 to 29 should have a Pap test done every three years to screen for cervical cancer. From age 30 to 65, it is recommended women have a Pap test and an HPV (human papilloma virus) test every 5 years; however, the ACS indicates it is still acceptable to have a Pap test alone every three years. There is also now an HPV vaccine that may help prevent cervical cancer, and it’s recommended for both boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 26.
• Colorectal Cancer: Starting at age 50, men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should take advantage of colorectal cancer screening. According to the ACS, colorectal cancer screening not only has the potential for finding cancer early, it can actually prevent the cancer from forming in the first place when polyps are found and removed during the procedure.
• Skin Cancer: Most skin cancers can be found early with skin exams. The ACS recommends using a full-length mirror for self-exams, learning the pattern of moles, freckles and other marks on the skin and alerting the healthcare provider of any new moles or changes in existing ones. Physicians should checkj patients’ skin carefully as part of a routine cancer-related check-up.
• Lung Cancer: Screening for lung cancer using a low dose CT scan may be recommended for those at high risk, who are age 55 to 77 (Medicare/Medicaid) and 80 (for those with private insurance), in reasonably good health, have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history and are either still smoking or have quit in the past 15 years.
For more information about cancer prevention or screening programs, please call King’s Daughters CARE24/7 at (606) 408-8999 or 1-844-324-2200.
Notify me of followup comments via e-mail