Newswise — SEATTLE – According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate from cancer in the U.S. has declined steadily over the past two decades. This decline translates into more than 1.3 million lives saved. Despite these encouraging gains, approximately 1.66 million Americans be diagnosed with cancer and more than 585,000 will die from the disease in 2014.
Experts at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) are committed to reducing these statistics further through advanced prevention tactics. In recognition of National Cancer Prevention Month, SCCA has developed tips to reduce the risk of cancer and is also creating a microsite – SCCADoOneThing.org – focused on engaging the public in a dialogue about healthy behaviors and the latest in cancer prevention and screening, which will launch in April.
“Preventive care and early detection saves lives,” said Dr. Constance Lehman, medical director of Imaging at SCCA and professor and vice chair of the radiology department at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “The great news from the American Cancer Society confirms that cancer deaths are decreasing. Still, there is much we can do to further reduce the burden of cancer. Adopting prevention related habits is a simple way we can all help reduce the impact of cancer on our society.”
SCCA recommends following these healthy lifestyle choices to help reduce the risk of cancer:
• Get annual check-ups and screenings: Annual check-ups and screenings are the best line of defense in terms of early detection. SCCA recommends women over 40 get a mammogram each year, men get smart about their prostate cancer risk, everyone over 50 get a colonoscopy, and longtime smokers think about getting screened for lung cancer.
• Quit smoking: According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer takes more lives each year than colorectal, breast and prostate cancers combined. For help quitting, SCCA offers guidance on smoking cessation.
• Limit sun exposure: Skin damage occurs over time and studies have shown that children tend to get 80 percent of their lifetime exposure by age 18. Avoid tanning beds and limit the time you and your children spend in the sun, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. SCCA recommends and daily use of sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 and wearing sunglasses while in the sun. Reapply sunscreen every few hours while exposed to the sun, regardless of the SPF and be wary of commonly overlooked areas such as the top of hands, ears and scalp.
• Lead a healthy lifestyle: By maintaining proper weight, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly, you can improve your overall health, reduce your cancer risk, and prevent several other diseases.
The federal government has also recognized the importance of prevention and early detection. For example, under the newly enacted Affordable Care Act (ACA), most health insurance plans are required to provide selected preventive services without a co-pay or other out-of-pocket expenses for patients. For women with an increased risk of developing breast cancer, chemoprevention drugs, genetic counseling and chemoprevention counseling will now be covered. Additionally, women over the age of 40 will receive free breast cancer mammography screenings every one to two years.
“This is a major step forward in this country to support women to have access to the care they need and deserve,” said Dr. Lehman. “Research shows that screening mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer at an early stage when it can be cured.”
Additional information and ongoing preventive care ideas and tips will be launched in April on SCCA’s microsite – SCCADoOneThing.org – dedicated towards engaging the general public about simple lifestyle choices that save lives. This website will also provide valuable information on preventing and screening for cancer and resources for those who believe they may be at high risk.
For more information on SCCA’s Prevention and Early Detection program please visit: http://www.seattlecca.org/prevention-early-detection.cfm.
About Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is a cancer treatment center that unites doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s. Our goal, every day, is to turn cancer patients into cancer survivors. Our purpose is to lead the world in the prevention and treatment of cancer. SCCA has five clinical care sites: an outpatient clinic on the Hutchinson Center campus, a pediatric inpatient unit at Seattle Children’s, an adult inpatient unit at UW Medical Center, a medical oncology clinic at EvergreenHealth, and medical and radiation oncology clinics at UW Medicine / Northwest Hospital & Medical Center. Additionally, proton therapy services are provided at SCCA Proton Therapy, A Procure Center. For more information about SCCA, visit www.seattlecca.org.