Cancer Prevention

Cancer PreventionCancer Facts

  • Anyone can develop cancer.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for 1 in every 4 deaths in the U.S.
  • The 5 year survival rate, according to information gathered from 2002-2008, is 68%
  • Lung Cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer in both Men and Women, and lung cancer is generally (but not always) linked to continual carcinogenic exposure (most commonly tobacco use).
  • Many cancer deaths can be completely prevented when the proper prevention techniques and practices are followed (such as colon cancer, prostate cancer, and cervical cancer).

What is Cancer?

Cancer, is not a single disease/illness as many commonly think it is. It is actually a group of related diseases. The American Cancer Society(ACS) defines cancer as follows:

“A group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells.”

Cancer PreventionThe ACS explains further that if this growth and spread of abnormal cells is not eventually controlled or contained, that the result can be death. What causes cancer can sometimes be difficult to determine. Generally, there are multiple factors that lead to cancer. These factors are generally divided between two categories; internal and external.

Internal Factors:

  • Inherited Genes
  • Genetic mutations caused by internal processes (such as metabolism)
  • Hormones
  • Immune conditions
  • And more…

External Factors:

  • Carcinogens (tobacco, alcohol, certain drugs, and etc…)
  • Radiation
  • Infections Diseases
  • And more…

Cancer is sometimes treatable. Current methods of treating cancer include radiation, surgery, specialized drugs, and additional targeted therapies.

Risk Factors

Cancer PreventionPerhaps one of the most practical methods of prevention of cancer is to know and understand the risk factors; this will help guide you in taking the appropriate steps towards your cancer prevention plan.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the following risk factors are known to cause cancer:

  • Tobacco (any type of use)
  • Infections
  • Radiation
  • Immunosuppressants (medicines used to slow down the immune system to combat certain illnesses)

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the following risk factors are may cause cancer:

  • Diet/Obesity
  • Alcohol
  • Physical Activity
  • The Environment

How to Prevent Cancer

  1. Do not use ANY type of tobacco products
  2. Eat HEALTHY and stay ACTIVE

  3. Stay safe while in the SUN!
  4. Find cancer early: the earlier you find you have cancer, the greater the chances are of surviving it.
    • Get a Doctor! Make sure you see a doctor you trust regularly (at least once a year for most people in GOOD health)
    • GET SCREENED! There are many highly effective screening processes that are recommended by doctors. WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK YOUR DOCTOR about getting screened. Many screens are recommended at specific ages dependent sometimes upon sex. The following cancers have standard screening guidelines EVERYONE should adhere too.
      • Breast Cancer
      • Prostate Cancer
      • Colorectal Cancer
      • Oral Cancer
      • Cervical Cancer
      • Testicular Cancer
      • Uterine Cancer
    • For more information on cancer screening, visit this ACS guide to cancer screening.
  5. LEARN and keep learning!
    • There is always new research coming out regarding cancer and cancer prevention recommendations. Make sure you are able to stay informed by subscribing to different sources such as the American Cancer Society or the National Cancer Institute.
    • Know Your Carcinogens: There are many environmental causes of cancer you should be aware of so you can steer clear and stay safe. Learn about them at the ACS Carcinogens page.
    • Understand your Genetics: Many cancers run in families. Learn more about your risks and your loved ones risks by understanding your family tree and any possible inherited cancers. The Genetics and Cancer page by the ACS is a great place to start!
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