April is National Cancer Control Month

by Liz Stovall, Fitness and Wellness Division Manager, Department of Human Resources

As of 1983, the month of April is dedicated to raising awareness for cancer prevention and treatment throughout the United States. Since then, cancer related death tolls have steadily declined due to better education and heightened awareness of how to prevent certain types of cancer, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of cancer, and how to seek proper treatment. Even with all the knowledge available, it is vital to get regular preventative screenings. Screenings are one of the most effective ways to detect precancerous cells and provide early treatment for cancers such as skin, breast, cervical, colon, testicular, prostate, and rectal. 

Vaccinations are also available to help prevent and treat certain types of cancers. Cancer prevention vaccinations work to target certain viruses, like the human papillomavirus (HPV) or the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), that can increase a person’s risk of developing certain cancers. Cancer treatment vaccines try to get the immune system to mount an attack against cancer cells in the body. These are used in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer and advanced melanoma skin cancer.1

In conjunction with medical prevention, the most effective way to prevent some types of cancer involves adopting these simple lifestyle habits:

  • Choosing not to use tobacco products.
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation.
  • Eating a healthy diet rich in plant-based foods that are high in fiber.
  • Being physically active every day for at least 30 minutes.
  • Avoiding exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

Although cancer is one of the leading causes of death for all Americans, it is also the most preventable. Protecting your body and utilizing the available resources can help prevent a future cancer diagnosis. Become your own personal cancer prevention advocate by checking to see if you are due for a cancer screening by visiting the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Screening Guidelines by Age webpage.

1 Vaccinations are also available to help treat and prevent certain types of cancers