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posted on April 01, 2010 16:27


April is Cancer Control Month
In 2008, cancer surpassed heart disease to become the leading cause of death in Idaho. Many cancers, however, are either preventable or treatable with early detection.
According to the American Cancer Society, a large amount of the hardships and deaths related to cancer could be prevented by increased efforts to reduce tobacco use, improve diet and exercise, reduce obesity, and expand the use of screening tests.
Who is at Risk?
Everyone is at risk for cancer; however, some people are at greater risk than others. Age is the greatest risk factor as about 75% of cancers are detected in people ages 55 and older. Those who smoke, drink heavily, eat a poor diet, are physically inactive, have prolonged exposure to sunlight and those who are regularly exposed to carcinogens are all at increased risk for developing cancer. A family history of certain cancers may increase a person’s risk for developing that cancer.
Screening and Prevention
Tobacco use alone was estimated to cause about 169,000 deaths from cancer in 2009. Quitting tobacco use significantly reduces your risk of lung cancer, the number one cancer killer for both men and women in America. Tobacco use is also linked to many other forms of cancer including cancers of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, bladder, kidneys and cervix.
Colorectal Cancer:Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Idaho; it is also highly preventable. Early screening can detect pre-cancerous polyps which can be removed before they turn into cancer. Beginning at age 50, men and women should begin screening for colon and rectum cancers.
Breast Cancer: Beginning in their early 20s, women should talk to their healthcare provider about breast self-examination. For women in their 20s and 30s, clinical breast examination should be part of their health examination at least every three years. Mammograms are recommended every one to two years for women ages 40 and up. Women who do not have insurance coverage and have a low family income may qualify for free Mammogram and Clinical Breast Exam through Women’s Health Check (dial 2-1-1 or visit the Women’s Health Check website).
Cervical Cancer: About 10,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States every each year and rates among younger women are increasing. There is a strong link shown between tobacco use and cervical cancer. Screening in the form of annual Pap tests is recommended for all women age 21 and over – talk to your healthcare provider about screening recommendations for your age and risk categories. There is also a vaccine available that protects against four types of the cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV). This vaccine is for use in females aged 9-26 years. Women who do not have insurance coverage and have a low family income may qualify for free Pap tests through Women’s Health Check (dial 2-1-1 or visit the Women’s Health Check website).
Prostrate Cancer: Men age 50 and up (earlier if they are at high risk) should talk to their healthcare provider about the potential benefits and limitations of prostate cancer early detection testing.
Skin Cancer: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. For most people, skin cancer can be prevented through sun protection: wear protective clothing (long sleeve shirts, long pants, and wide rim hats) while in the sun; wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30; stay out of the sun between the hours of 10 and 4; don’t use tanning beds.
For more information about the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer please visit the American Cancer Society website or visit the Idaho Comprehensive Cancer Control Program website. For information about cancer incidence and mortality in Idaho, visit the Cancer Data Registry of Idaho website.