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February is National Cancer Prevention Month, which is an entire month dedicated to raising awareness about cancer - all types of cancers.
What is National Cancer Prevention Month?
National Cancer Prevention Month is a health event for increasing awareness of the different ways to try and prevent cancer. This is such an important event because studies show that about one out of three Americans will develop cancer during their lifetime.
As a terrible statistic, about half a million people pass away every year from cancer in the United States alone. It is the firm belief of experts who say that approximately one-third of these deaths from cancer could be prevented by making lifestyle changes and following particular cancer screening routines and recommendations.
The term cancer is used for describing more than 100 different diseases. There are many forms 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 are:
If you have any of these symptoms, it's best to get evaluated by a medical professional whenever possible.
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 the risk of cancer.
The American Institute for Cancer Research 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 colon cancer. Limit red meat to 10 ounces of lean cuts in a period of one week, it is best to avoid processed meats altogether.
Increase the level of physical activity: 30 minutes of physical activity that raises your heart rate is necessary for your body. Making time for some physical exercise is said to lower the 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: Seeking regular medical care will help diagnose cancer during its early stage, which is when it is most curable. If you are suffering from any health problems, talk to your doctor about them.
Avoid tobacco products: Whether it is smoking, chewing, or any other form of tobacco, avoid it altogether. Tobacco products are directly linked to the development of certain cancers, such as lung cancer and mouth cancer.
Vaccines can also help in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. For instance, the HPV vaccine can help prevent most types of cervical cancers, vaginal cancers, and vulvar cancers. Studies have shown that a hepatitis B vaccine can also be effective in decreasing the risk of liver cancer.
The CDC recommends certain screenings to prevent certain cancers or to help find the disease at its early, treatable stages. Studies indicate that screening for colorectal and cervical cancers can help prevent these diseases through the detection of precancerous lesions that can be treated before they develop into cancer.
It is very important to get regular screenings for colorectal, cervical and breast cancer. All of these types of cancer are usually treatable during their early stages.
What You Can Do on 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 100,000 cancer-related deaths each year can be prevented by following the prevention tips, and screenings. It is very important to start living healthier by eating natural, organic foods, and becoming more active. If you have a higher risk of cancer due to genetic and other factors, be sure to get regular screenings. This will help treat the cancer in its early stages.