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February: National Cancer Prevention Month

Cancer prevention

What is National Cancer Prevention Month?

Approximately 1/3 of cancer cases can be prevented.1 In many cases, environmental factors and the absence of regular screening can significantly increase an individual’s susceptibility to cancer.

The National Cancer Prevention Month is February. The goal of which is to increase cancer awareness and subsequently reduce the risk of cancer development.2 That being said, here are 7 actions you can take to significantly reduce your risk for developing cancer.

  1. Avoid tobacco use3 – tobacco and smoking have been linked to a wide array of cancers. These include cancer of the mouth, throat, lung, pancreas, bladder, cervix, kidney and larynx. Avoiding Tobacco, tobacco-related products, and exposure to second-hand smoke and tobacco-related products substantially reduces your risk.
  2. Eat a healthy diet4 – this involves ensuring your diet includes an appropriate array of fruits and vegetables, moderate alcohol consumption, and limiting processed meats. Large amounts of processed meat have been shown to slightly increase your risk of developing certain cancers.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight5 – prostate, lung, colon and kidney cancer risk can potentially be reduced by maintaining healthy body weight. Obesity has been demonstrated to increase one’s risk of developing cancer. A healthy diet and appropriate levels of exercise can help reduce your risk of cancer.
  4. Exercise and be physically active6,7 – 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity can help significantly reduce your cancer risk and improve your quality of life overall.
  5. Limit exposure to the sun8 – use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it generously and re-apply every two hours. The former, along with limiting sunlight exposure while avoiding the use of tanning beds and sunlamps can significantly reduce your risk for developing skin cancer.
  6. Get the appropriate vaccinations9 – Hepatitis B and the Human papillomavirus can significantly increase your chances of developing liver and cervical cancer respectively. Vaccinations exist for these viruses and practically eliminate the risk of virus acquisition.
  7. Get regular check-ups10 – for certain cancers, regular screenings, whether done by yourself or by a healthcare professional, can increase your chances of discovering cancer early. This acts to increase your survival chances significantly should cancer be detected.