Get screened, be aware

Mikey Hoeven

Former ND First Lady

As a member of the bipartisan Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, I want to share the following information as we observe National Cancer Prevention Month.

Nearly 1.8 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and more than 600,000 are expected to die of these diseases. In North Dakota alone, 3,940 will be diagnosed and 1,280 will die. Up to 50 percent of cancer diagnoses and about 50 percent of cancer deaths can be prevented. But it’s up to you to take the steps to reduce your cancer risk.

Don’t smoke. About 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancer cases are related to cigarette smoking. Tobacco products may increase your risk of other types of cancer, including colorectal, liver and mouth cancers. If you do smoke or use tobacco products, the sooner you quit, the more you reduce your risk.

Protect your skin. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S.–and the most preventable. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and avoid using tanning beds.

Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active. Obesity is linked to at least 13 types of cancer, so it’s important to eat a healthy diet filled with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and limit red meat. Staying physically active may also reduce your risk of certain cancers. Adults should get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, while children need at least an hour of physical activity daily.

Get screened. Visit a health care professional to discuss screening recommendations based on your age, gender, and family and personal history. Screening can detect pre-cancerous conditions or it can detect cancer early, when successful treatment is more likely.

Make cancer prevention part of your daily routine by not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising and wearing sunscreen. To learn more ways you can reduce your risk of cancer, visit

Mikey Hoeven is the spouse of N.D. Sen. John Hoeven. Statistics provided by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.