April is National Cancer Control Month – This is a time to learn about cancer risk factors, raise awareness about strategies for cancer prevention and early detection, and support people living with cancer.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of illness and death worldwide, and the toll on loved ones living with cancer can be staggering. According to the American Cancer Society, doctors will diagnose more than 1.8 million new cases and over 600,000 people will die from cancer in the United States this year alone, if current trends continue.
With a comprehensive approach to prevention and cancer screening, we can prevent many of these deaths.
What We Know About Cancer Prevention/ Tips for Cancer Prevention
Cancer prevention is mainly about making healthy lifestyle choices, like avoiding tobacco, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. These behaviors can reduce the risk of developing many types of cancer, including lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.
One of the main goals of National Cancer Control Month is to educate people about the preventable risk factors for many types of cancer.
One large study of people across the globe, found that almost half of all cancer deaths could be prevented by focusing on a few lifestyle-related risk factors. The 2019 study, showed that the main risk factors to avoid include drinking alcohol in excess, using tobacco, and living at an unhealthy weight (being overweight or obese).
According to the study, the main types of cancer linked with these risk factors were:
In addition to avoiding these behaviors to prevent cancer, there are other important steps to consider.
You can further drive down your risk of certain cancers by:
For loved ones living with cancer, making these lifestyle changes can also help optimize health as they undergo treatment.
What is Early Detection?
Even though sticking to healthy behaviors and avoiding toxic substances can reduce cancer diagnoses and deaths, we know that many cancer cases aren’t always linked to things we can change or control.
This is why early detection is also critical in the fight against cancer. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment. Many types of cancer are detected through screening tests.
Your doctors and health care team can help you decide which screening tests to add to your calendar and when. Routine cancer screenings are often based on recommendations based on your age and other risk factors, like smoking status.
Common cancer screening tests include:
Ideally, these tests can detect cancer in its early stages, when it is most treatable. Your health care provider is your best resource to learn about you personal cancer risk and the best screening options for you.
Scientists continue to develop newer technologies to help people screen for and identify cancers earlier. One new test, the Ezra full-body scan, may help with early detection. This test can help assess the status of your health, monitor your body across time, and flag any abnormalities early.
The Importance of More Cancer Research and Support Services
Health care researchers and health care providers are constantly working to identify new tools, like the Ezra full-body scan, to can help people catch cancer early.
Researchers are also working to improve treatment options if a cancer is found. That’s why National Cancer Control Month also focuses on the importance of cancer research. Advances in cancer research have led to new treatments and improved survival rates for many types of cancer. Researchers are constantly working to develop new drugs and therapies that target cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells.
Along with attention on further research, it is critically important to recognize and support those who are currently battling cancer, as well as their caregivers. Cancer can take a toll on both the physical and emotional well-being of patients and their loved ones.
For those looking for more information and support, many organizations provide resources online, on social media, and through local community events.
Great sources for trusted, updated information about cancer prevention, early detection, patient and caregivers support, and treatment options include:
How Can You Participate in Cancer Control Month?