This content is sponsored by Prevent Cancer Foundation
By Carolyn Aldigé, Founder and CEO, Prevent Cancer Foundation®
The potential for cancer prevention is astounding; up to 50 percent of all cancer cases and about 50 percent of cancer deaths are preventable with the knowledge we have right now. There are steps you can take each day to limit damaging behaviors and become the healthiest version of you. Now is the time to take charge of your health and protect yourself from cancer and other chronic diseases.
Here are 7 steps to reduce your cancer risk:
- Don’t use tobacco. It’s not just the leading cause of lung cancer—tobacco use has been linked to many types of cancer, including colorectal, breast, throat, cervical, bladder, mouth and esophageal cancers. It is never too late to quit. (For help quitting, call 1-800-QuitNow to be connected with a trained quit coach in your area.)
- Eat a healthy diet. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, limit red meat and cut out processed meats.
- Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active. Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day can make a big different in your health. Obesity is poised to surpass tobacco as the leading cause of cancer by 2030, and without meaningful changes, half of Americans will be obese by then.
- Protect your skin from UV rays. Skin cancer is the most common—and the most preventable—cancer in the United States. Sun exposure causes most skin cancers, but skin cancer rates are on the rise in teenagers and young adults because of increased use of tanning beds. Protect your skin from the sun with sunscreen and protective clothing and avoid using tanning beds or sun lamps.
- Practice safer sex and avoid risky behaviors. Many types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) are spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex. HPV can cause at least six types of cancer. Using a condom the right away every time can help protect you, but it is not 100% protection. The hepatitis B and C viruses, which are the leading causes of liver cancer, can be spread through sex or through blood, usually by sharing needles with someone who is infected.
- Get immunized. One of the greatest advances in cancer prevention in recent years is the advent of the HPV vaccine, which can protect you from the virus that causes at least six types of cancer. It is recommended for all girls and boys ages 11-12, and a “catch-up” vaccine may be an option for teens and adults through age 45.
You can also be vaccinated for hepatitis B, a leading cause of liver cancer. All children should be vaccinated against hepatitis B, as well as adults who are at risk.
- Know your family medical history and get recommended cancer screenings. Screening is proven to save lives, but it is not “one size fits all.” You may need to be screened earlier or more often than the general population based on your personal and family medical histories.Most people who get cancer do not have a family history of the disease, so it’s equally important that those at average risk get recommended cancer screenings. Talk to your health care professional about your family history and which screenings are right for you.
Get empowered with more information on how to take care of your health and reduce your cancer risk at www.preventcancer.org. By taking these steps, you can Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®
About The Prevent Cancer Foundation®
The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is one of the nation’s leading voluntary health organizations and the only U.S. nonprofit organization focused solely on cancer prevention and early detection. Founded in 1985, it has catapulted cancer prevention to prominence and fulfills its mission through research, education, outreach and advocacy.