Nearly 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer annually, yet 40% percent of all cancers diagnosed, and almost half of all deaths from cancer in the United States, are attributed to preventable causes. National Cancer Prevention Month serves as a great reminder to take necessary precautions against preventable cancers. Getting screened regularly and avoiding certain behaviors like smoking, physical inactivity, and excessive sun exposure can help prevent your risk of certain cancers.
Get screened regularly
Breast cancer: Women between the ages of 40-50 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year. Women 50 years of age and older should be screened by mammogram every year until their care team suggests they can switch to screening every other year.
Colorectal cancer: Adults between the ages of 45-75 should be screened regularly for colorectal cancer. Screening options include colonoscopy and multitarget stool DNA test. Your provider can help you determine which option makes the most sense for you.
Lung cancer: Adults who smoke now, have quit within the past 15 years, have a 20-pack-per-year or more smoking history, and are between 50-80 years old are encouraged to be screened yearly for lung cancer.
Cervical cancer: Women between the ages of 21 to 65 should get screened for cervical cancer via Pap smear every 2-3 years.
Prostate cancer and testicular cancer: Have a discussion with your provider to determine if and when screening for prostate cancer or testicular cancer may be needed.
Lifestyle changes that can lower your risk
Limit UV exposure: Use an SPF when spending time in the sun, limit exposure to UV rays outside, and avoid tanning beds.
Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity is associated with 13 types of cancer. Talk to your provider about ways to build habits that support healthy eating and regular exercise.
Avoid smoking or using tobacco products: Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. By not smoking, not using tobacco products, and limiting your exposure to secondhand smoke, you can significantly lower your chances of developing lung cancer.
Limit your alcohol intake: Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to 8+ types of cancer. Avoid binge drinking to reduce your risk.