As we go into February, many people are focusing on matters of the heart for Valentine’s Day. But it’s also a time when experts are urging them to pay attention to the rest of the body as well, looking out for abnormal changes.
February is also National Cancer Prevention Month, a time to bring awareness to the second deadliest disease in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, almost 610,000 deaths from cancer are expected to occur this year – about 1,670 deaths per day – and 1.9 million new cancer cases will be reported. While some cancers are caused by smoking and other lifestyle factors, many types of cancer are the result of genetic mutations that occur naturally over time.
Cancer has been the second leading cause of death in Florida since 2014. The American Cancer Society expects more than 47,000 Floridians to die from the disease. Despite these staggering numbers, there are ways to prevent cancer and, hopefully, reduce the financial and physical burden on patients and their families.
The National Cancer Institute tells us there are more than 100 types of cancer, causing symptoms that can include lumps, constant coughing, unexpected weight loss, and more. Even though some risk factors are in the environment and can’t be avoided, various lifestyle choices can increase your risk of getting cancer (for example, smoking can greatly increase your risk of getting lung cancer). Meanwhile, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and wearing sunscreen can reduce the chances you’ll get some variations of the disease.
It’s also important to get regular screenings since early detection is key to treating cancer effectively. For example, women should undergo regular mammograms to detect breast cancer early, and everyone over 45 should be screened for colon cancer.
National Cancer Prevention Month is an important time to raise awareness about cancer prevention and early detection. By taking steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle and getting regular screenings, individuals can help reduce their risk of developing cancer and improve their chances of survival. Capital Health Plan strives to educate our patients and the community at large about ways to prevent diseases, including cancer. To learn more about making healthy decisions, go to https://capitalhealth.com/.