February is National Cancer Awareness Prevention Month
Cancer is a major public health problem worldwide and the second leading cause of death in the United States. Almost 50 percent of cancer cases can be prevented.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — While there is no certain way to prevent cancer, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood, like smoking and tobacco use, infection and too much sun exposure.
Family history plays about a five – 10% role in your cancer risk, so knowing your family history is important.
Modifiable risk factors are important to know and live out – forward momentum is key.
Abdel – Ghani Azzouqa, an Oncologist with Monument Health, says, “Small incremental changes over time will eventually lead to lifestyle changing but take small steps, better than none.”
Take action with lifestyle choices, like eating healthy – more fruits and vegetables and attain a healthy weight or BMI along with an active lifestyle.
Limit your sun exposure and use SPF. Regular screenings help detect cancers early and maximize your chance for successful treatment.
Get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is recommended to prevent infections to which in turn can prevent certain cancers in the future.
Azzouqa says, “Long term chronic infections can cause damage over a long period of time to the superficial layers or the lining of organs and that over time can induce cancers.”
But if you experience any out of the norm symptoms, always talk to you doctor, there are some general red flag warnings.
Azzouqu says red flag warnings may include these symptoms, “Unintentional weight loss of more than 10% of your body weight over less than six months, having excessive fatigue that you have not had before, limiting your ability to perform functions and also loss of appetite.”
As cancer research is continuing, it’s providing more hope for those with a diagnosis.
“Some cancers are curable, it’s not a death sentence – most every cancer there are medications to improve longevity of life and improve quality of life,” says Azzouqu.
The routine screenings include -mammography, pap smears and colonoscopy and a low dose CAT scan screenings for long term smokers.
Monument Health is planning to expand their Cancer Care Institute in the near future. Click here for more information.