The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that increasing cancer cases pose an impending “human disaster.” Its World Cancer Report, released on February 4, predicts that cancer will increase by 57 percent in the next 20 years

The most common cancers diagnosed around the globe are lung, breast and colon. The good news about all of them is that, if caught early, they are easily treatable. In fact, about half of all cancers are actually preventable.

“Cancer does not have to be inevitable, nor is it a death sentence. There are steps that you can take to reduce your risk factors for getting cancer in the first place,” says Joseph Haggerty, MD, medical director of Cancer Services at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. “Simply committing to improve your overall health will go a long way.”

To lower your risk:

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. If you do smoke, stop. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
  • Stay active. A healthy lifestyle includes regular, moderate physical activity.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit the amount of processed foods you consume.
  • Avoid alcohol. Excessive alcohol use has been shown to increase cancer risks.
  • Get vaccinated. Some cancers, such as cervical cancer, are preventable with a vaccine like the HPV vaccine.
  • Stay out of the sun when possible. If you have to be out, use sunscreen, wear a hat and protective clothing to limit your chances of developing skin cancer.

While prevention is ideal, early detection is also important. Many cancers are treatable when found early. Follow recommended screening guidelines and talk openly and honestly with your doctor about any symptoms you are having.

You can also join us at the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical CenterAquilino Cancer Center on March 23 for our FREE cancer screening event. Register online to have screenings for: clinical breast exams, oral, prostate, thyroid, colorectal and skin cancer screenings.