Cancer Prevention Month
Did you know that in addition to American Heart Month, February is also Cancer Prevention Month. The American Association for Cancer Research states that that more than 40% of all cancers diagnosed and nearly half of all deaths from cancer in the United States can be attributed to preventable causes. The AACR is committed to advancing the science of cancer prevention and their main goal for this month is to encourage the implementation of effective public education and policy initiatives, as well as inspire individual behavior change.
Many of the risk factors for cancer are the same for heart disease. So, the healthy lifestyle changes you’ve started making this month to improve your heart health will also help reduce your risk for cancer. Listed below are specific ways you can improve your overall health and lower your risk of cancer:
- Quit Smoking: Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States, taking more than 480,000 lives each year. Smoking tobacco has also been shown to increase the risk of developing 17 different types of cancer in addition to lung cancer. So, quitting smoking, or never starting, is one of the best ways to reduce your cancer risk.
- Get Moving: Being overweight or obese as an adult increases a person’s risk for 15 types of cancer and, according to a recent report, being sedentary for 13 or more hours per day can increase the risk of dying from cancer by 52%. By including 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity physical activity in each day, you can lower risk of cancer death by 30%. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active is an effective way to lower the risk of developing or dying from cancer. Click here to learn more!
- Eat a Balanced Diet: In the United States, more than 5% of all newly diagnosed cancer cases among adults are attributable to eating a poor diet. This shows that nutrition plays a huge role in cancer prevention. A balanced diet not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, but it also fuels your body with nutrients and antioxidants that prevent cancer. To learn more about creating a healthy diet, click here!
- Protect Your Skin: There are three main types of skin cancer; basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Each one is largely caused by exposure to UV radiation from the sun or indoor tanning devices. Sunburn, which a clear indication of excessive exposure to UV radiation, is a preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Research shows that sunburns occurring in childhood pose the greatest risk, so sun safety throughout one’s life one of the most effective ways a person can reduce his or her risk of skin cancer. Click here to learn about sun safety and choosing the best sun screen!
For more information on cancer prevention and for access to a variety of cancer prevention resources, check out The American Association for Cancer Research!