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
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
• 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.