Education is key to cancer prevention
April is National Cancer Control Awareness Month and a great time to raise awareness of cancer prevention, detection and treatment methods as well as to give support to cancer patients and survivors.
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in New York state, but it doesn’t have to be. Many risk factors that contribute to cancer are controllable.
A key action to preventing cancer, or catching it early, is staying up-to-date on recommended cancer screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers.
In addition to regular screening, if you use tobacco, quit. Help is available through the New York State Smokers’ Quitline (1-866-697-8487). Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers; enjoy a low-fat diet. Limit time in the sun and use sunscreen year-round. Avoid tanning beds, and exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days each week.
The spring is a great time to make small, healthy lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on cancer prevention and our overall health. It’s paramount that we recognize months designed to educate the people of our communities on cancer prevention, and to rededicate ourselves to the fight against this devastating disease.
The Cancer Services Program is available to New Yorkers in every county, and provides free mammograms and pap tests to women 40-64 and colorectal cancer screening kits to men and women 50-64 who do not have health insurance. These screenings are also a covered benefit through Medicaid, as well as health plans participating in the New York State of Health marketplace. For more information, call 770-6814.
The writer is program coordinator for the Cancer Services Program of Fulton and Montgomery Counties.