February is National Cancer Prevention Month

With February being National Cancer Prevention Month, here are certain items that you should be aware from Intermountain Health about cancer prevention and how far we have come in cancer survival.

According to a study conducted by the American Cancer Society, at least 42 percent of newly diagnosed cancers in the United States are potentially avoidable. This translates to about 750,000 cases in 2020 – and makes prevention and early detection more important than ever.

Cancer survival has had a dramatic increase since 1990 (over 30 percent increase in survival). Dr. Steven Yates said this this is in part due to reductions in smoking and definitely due to improvements in screenings and early detection

Also, there have been recent advancements in therapies providing significant improvement in survival for some of our most difficult cancers.

Screenings has the potential to detect cancers and precancerous lesions while in the early stages, which is when they are the most treatable – but before other symptoms appear.

In the early stages of colorectal cancer, there may be no symptoms. This is another reason why it’s important to know the risk factors associated with all cancers and talk to your doctor about scheduling a screening. 

Medical experts are now officially recommending that people with average risk have their first colonoscopy or other screening at age 45, rather than 50, which was the previous standard. 

For a complete list of cancer screening guidelines, by age, visit the American Cancer Society website.

Keys to Preventing Cancer
One of the biggest keys is lifestyle. Avoiding smoking greatly helps and it is never too late to quit or find help.

Weight control and healthy eating goes a long way as well.Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans while limiting red meat and cutting out processed foods. Experts also suggest decreasing your intake of higher calorie food, decreasing your alcohol consumption and quitting smoking (or never starting in the first place).

Experts suggest keeping your weight within the healthy range and avoiding weight gain in adult life. The evidence linking body weight to cancer has grown stronger over the past decade. Specifically, activity and obesity have been linked to breast and colorectal cancer.

Also, get to know your family history, as genetics play another key in someone’s cancer risk. If someone has a strong presence of cancer in their family, then screenings and preventative measure matter even more.

Disparities in Cancer Survival

There is statistically evidence that Black men have double the cancer mortality rate for prostate cancer. There could be various reasons for this as outlined by the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Yates also said there are increased cancer mortality risk for Hispanic and Black women in regard to cervical cancer. It is one of the few cancers where death has risen since 1990.

To learn more or find a provider, visit intermountainnv.org.