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February is National Cancer Prevention Month

There are many factors which can cause cancer, not all of which are fully understood. Despite this uncertainty, we are aware of some ways to decrease the risk of developing certain types of cancer. February is National Cancer Prevention Month. It is estimated that a third of US cancer cases could be prevented through diet and exercise. Particularly for those with other risk factors, staying in shape is a good step towards preventing some cancers. Spending too much time in the sun can lead to skin cancer which makes it very important to use sunscreen and stay in the shade as much as possible.

There are many cancer screenings available that can lead to early detection of cancer such as prostate, cervical, and breast cancer. Catching these cancers early can prevent them from becoming debilitating and ensure that you are strong enough to take on cancer. Cancer risk tends to increase with age. Some existing health conditions that cause inflammation such as ulcerative colitis may also increase risk of cancer. Knowing the factors that contribute to cancer can help you live a lifestyle that decreases your cancer risks. According to experts, these are the best ways to prevent cancer:

· Stop using tobacco and avoid secondhand smoke.

· Eat a healthy, balanced diet.

· Limit your intake of processed meats.

· Consider adopting a “Mediterranean diet” that focuses mainly on plant-based foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

· Avoid alcohol, or drink in moderation. Moderate drinking is defined as one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65, and up to two drinks a day for men 65 years of age and younger.

· Keep a healthy weight and stay active by getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

· Stay protected from the sun.

· Cover up with clothing, sunglasses, and a hat, and apply sunscreen frequently.

· Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

· Stay in the shade as much as possible when you’re outside.

· Avoid tanning beds and sunlight, which can damage your skin just as much as the sun.

· Get vaccinated against viral infections that can lead to cancer, such as hepatitis B and HPV.

· See your doctor regularly so they can screen you for various types of cancer. This increases your chances of catching any possible cancers as early as possible.

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