National Cancer Prevention Month, observed in February
each year, has arrived, bringing with it another opportunity to spread the word
and take action in order to live better, healthier, and happier lives. MCR
Health would like to take advantage of this opportunity to join the fight.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world, killing nearly 10 million people each year and more than 600,000 in the U.S. alone. Cancer has been around since the beginning of time. Although little was understood about the human body at the time, the earliest evidence was written on papyri dating back to 1500 B.C., when tumors on the breast were discovered. Even though we haven’t found a cure for cancer yet, we’re closer than ever thanks to important steps forward.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT CANCER?
Think there’s nothing you can do to prevent cancer? Think again. More than 40% of all cancers diagnosed and almost 50% of all cancer-related deaths in the US can be prevented.
While there is no proven way to avoid cancer, factors such as weight, lack of exercise, smoking, and continuous sun exposure all increase the risk. You can lower these risks by making healthy choices, getting recommended cancer screenings, and getting vaccinated against certain viruses.
Cancer Prevention Awareness Month teaches people what they can do to stay safe. For example, the awareness campaign is one reason why the number of adults in the U.S. who smoke cigarettes has gone down by almost 75% from 1965 to 2022. But there is still work to be done: Cigarette smoking continues to be the main cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women.
So, what can you do to stay cancer free? By doing six simple things, you can lower your risk and live a healthier, longer life.
6 SIMPLE STEPS FOR CANCER PREVENTION
- Maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy weight
○ Eat a plant-based diet and decrease your intake of higher calorie food.
○ Limit processed meats and alcohol.
○ Include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. Doctors recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco products
○ All forms of tobacco products have many chemicals that damage DNA and cause cancer.
○ No forms are safe including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco/snuff, hookahs/waterpipes, and even secondhand smoke.
○ If you need help quitting tobacco, ask your doctor about products and strategies available to support you.
- Sun protection
○ Stay out of the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
○ Generously use sunscreen, cover exposed areas with hats or loose clothing, and utilize the shady areas when outdoors.
○ Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.
- Get Immunized
○ Certain viruses can cause cancer. There are vaccines that have been proven to be effective to reduce your risk.
○ The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine can significantly decrease the risk of several cancers including cervical, throat, tongue, anal, and other genital cancers.
○ The Hepatitis B vaccine decreases the risk for liver cancer.
- Get Screened
○ Regular screenings help detect cancers early and maximize your chance for successful treatment.
- Know Your Family History
○ 5-10% of all cancers are inherited.
○ Understanding your family history can help guide your discussion with your physician of when you need to start cancer screening and whether to consider genetic counseling.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL CANCER PREVENTION MONTH
Your donations can make a huge difference. They fund more research, help pay for treatment, and get the word out about cancer.
- Go out and spread the word
Don’t just collect information. Spread the word and provide others with important information, prevention tips, and risk factors, among other things.
- Cut the statistics
One-third of all cancers can be prevented. Take action by choosing healthy habits, like quitting smoking, consuming less alcohol, being active and at a healthy weight, limiting your exposure to radiation, and getting vaccinated.
WHY NATIONAL CANCER PREVENTION MONTH IS IMPORTANT
1. Prevention is key
It reminds us to make healthy choices, pay attention to risk factors, and live a healthy lifestyle to lower our chances of getting the disease. The way we live has a big impact.
2. Keeps cancer as a trending topic
The day reminds us to keep up with the latest news, research, progress reports, and new developments about cancer. We are all affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly.
3. It reminds us to value ourselves
National Cancer Prevention Month reminds us that health is wealth, even when life is busy. To stay alive, we need to take care of our health.
HOW CAN MCR HEALTH HELP?
With treatment continuing to improve every year, a cancer diagnosis no longer means all hope is lost. With early detection, many patients beat cancer and live cancer-free lives.
At MCR Health, we are committed to making a healthier future possible today, and we are also committed to the fight against cancer. Please make an appointment if you want to talk about your own risk factors for cancer or when you should get screened.