A word about cancer in National Cancer Prevention Month

Mikey Hoeven, Bismarck

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.

More than 1.8 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed and an estimated 606,520 will die from cancer in 2020. In North Dakota alone, 4,060 are expected to be diagnosed and 1,260 will die this year. But you can reduce your risk. Take charge of your health by taking these steps to prevent cancer.

Don’t smoke or use tobacco

Smoking is responsible for most lung cancer cases, and tobacco use can cause at least 12 other types of cancer. The sooner you quit, the more you reduce your risk.

Protect your skin

Skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in the U.S., usually caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays. When you’re outside, wear broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30; wear a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing; and seek shade. Indoor tanning is not a safe alternative.

Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active

Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk for cancer. Get at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity a week (60 minutes daily for youth).

Eat healthy

Eat a diet filled with fruits, vegetables and fiber and limit red and processed meat. Limit alcohol, which is linked to increased risk of some cancers, to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.

Learn your family medical history and get recommended screenings

Your family medical history may determine if you need to be screened for certain cancers at a younger age–talk to your health care professional to see what’s recommended for you. Screening can find some cancers early, when they’re easier to treat.

January is about making resolutions for the year; make February about committing to your health–for life. To learn more, visit www.preventcancer.org.

Statistics provided by the American Cancer Society