February is National Cancer Prevention Awareness Month.
Just being aware is not enough. We need to TAKE ACTION!
While there is no certain way to prevent cancer, there are certain risk
factors that increase the likelihood. You can TAKE ACTION to lower those
risks through healthy lifestyle choices, getting recommended cancer screenings
and vaccinating against certain viruses.
Factors that are known to increase the risk of cancer:
- Cigarette smoking and tobacco use
- Immunosuppressive medicines
Factors that may affect the risk of cancer:
- Physical activity
- Environmental risk factors
6 TAKE ACTION Tips for Reducing your Risk
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight and Active Lifestyle
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.Even
better, strive for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity
or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity.
2. 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,
hookas/waterpipes, and even secondhand smoke.
If you need help quitting tobacco, ask your doctor about products and strategies
available to support you.
MWHC has a tobacco cessation support group.
3. 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.
4. Get Immunized
Certain viruses can cause cancer. There are vaccines that have been proven
to be effective to reduce your risk.
The Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can significantly decrease the risk
of several cancers including cervical, throat, tongue, anal, and other
The Hepatitis B vaccine decreases the risk for liver cancer.
5. Get Screened
6. 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
The National Cancer Institute and others continue to study new ways to
prevent cancer. At this time, vitamin and dietary supplements have not
been shown to prevent cancer.
Challenge yourself to do at least one of these TAKE ACTION steps each month,
and then add another the next month, and then another and so forth until
you are doing them all!
American Cancer Society
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Cancer Institute
National Comprehensive Cancer Network