What is National Cancer Prevention Month?
National Cancer Prevention Month is a health event for increasing awareness of the different ways to prevent cancer. This is an important event because studies show that about one out of three Americans will develop cancer during their lifetime.
About half a million people die every year from cancer in the United States alone.
It is the firm belief of experts that about one-third of these deaths from cancer could be prevented by making lifestyle changes and following particular cancer screening recommendations.
Cancer is a general term used for describing more than 100 different diseases.
There are different types of cancer, but all cancers develop from an uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells.
Normal cells grow, divide and then die, but abnormal cells grow, divide and continue to grow and divide. This continues until the cells enter the bloodstream spreading to different areas of the body.
Due to the continuous process of growth and division, specific signs and symptoms occur the most common of which are:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent fever
- Moderate to severe pain in specific areas of the body
- Changes of the skin (darkening, yellowish, reddening, itching, etc.)
Purpose of National Cancer Prevention Month
The primary purpose of National Cancer Prevention Month is to decrease the number of deaths from cancer by making lifestyle changes that have been shown to reduce cancer risk.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends the following lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of cancer:
Limit consumption of red meat and avoid processed meat
The AICR recommends a diet composed mostly of plant foods including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
A report from the AICR found that there is a direct link between red and processed meats and cancer of the colon.
Limit red meat to 18 ounces of lean cuts in a period of one week and it is best to skin processed meats altogether.
Increase the level of physical activity
You don’t need a gym membership or run every morning. All you need is at least 30 minutes of physical activity that raises your heart rate.
You can walk after lunch or join a dancing class after work. This is said to lower risk for colon cancer and other types of cancer as well.
Losing excess weight or maintaining a healthy weight also helps prevent certain types of cancer.
Get regular medical care
Regular medical care will help diagnose cancer during its early stage that is when it is highly curable.
If you are suffering from health problems frequently, talk to your doctor about them.
Avoid tobacco products
Whether it is smoking, chewing or whatever, just skip the tobacco habit that is directly linked to the development of certain cancers like lung cancer and mouth cancer.
Vaccines can also help in reducing the risk of cancer. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can help prevent most types of cervical cancers and it can also help prevent vaginal and vulvar cancers.
Studies have shown that getting a hepatitis B vaccine can be effective in decreasing the risk of liver cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends certain screenings to prevent certain cancers or help find the disease at its early, treatable stages.
Studies indicate that screening for colorectal and cervical cancers can help in preventing these diseases through the detection of precancerous lesions that can be treated before they develop into cancer.
It is important to get regular screening for colorectal, cervical and breast cancer that is usually highly treatable during their early stages.
Must Watch – John Hirliman-Assoc. Executive Director, Charles River YMCA Discuss Some Healthy Tips to Reduce the Risk of Cancer
What You Can Do on National Cancer Prevention Month
- Follow the tips mentioned for reducing the risk of cancer
- Talk to your family and friends especially the ones who are at risk about how they can prevent cancer.
- Post or tweet about the different ways to prevent cancer.
- Organize a fundraising event to support cancer patients in your area.
- Distribute flyers on how to prevent cancer.
- Publish an article about cancer prevention in your local or national newspaper.
- Implore public officials to spread cancer prevention information.
- Organize an event that supports the goals of National Cancer Prevention Month.
RELATED – National Cancer Control Month
The message of National Cancer Prevention Month
A lot of lives can be saved just by increasing awareness of the different ways to prevent cancer.
In fact, more than a hundred thousand cancer-related deaths each year can be prevented by following cancer prevention tips.
It is very important to start living healthier by eating natural foods and becoming more active which can help reduce cancer risk.
Also, if you have a higher risk of cancer due to genetic and other factors, you need to get regular screening.
This way, if you have cancer it will be found during the early stage when it is still very treatable.