April is Cancer Control Month and an opportunity to take a closer look at ways to minimize the impact of cancer in our area.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in New York State, which has one of the highest cancer rates in the country. More than 100,000 New Yorkers will be diagnosed with some type of cancer this year.
Fortunately, some of the most common cancers can be found with routine screening tests, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. As shown in the image above, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, but New York has higher screening rates than many other states, so it is likely that we catch more cases of breast cancer that might otherwise go unnoticed.
There is no doubt that cancer screening saves lives. Screening tests are designed to detect cancer early, before symptoms appear and when it is easier to treat. This is particularly the case for breast, cervical, skin and colon cancer, for which screening is widely available.
When deciding when, where and how to get screened for cancer, it’s important to know your risk.
What’s Your Risk?
At Roswell Park, we’ve developed a questionnaire to help you find your cancer risk and screening needs. Your personal recommendations will be based on your genetics, such as your family history of cancer, and your lifestyle, such as diet and exercise habits.
Do you know that almost half of all cancers are caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as lack of exercise, tobacco use, poor diet, and drug or alcohol abuse? Obesity is a risk factor for many different types of cancer, and we are now learning that inactivity can be just as harmful to your health as smoking.
Regardless of your cancer risk and history, you can prevent cancer by
- Exercising regularly (any type of activity can lower your risk)
- Eating a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in fatty, processed foods or fast foods
- Avoiding or limiting alcoholic beverages
- Protecting your skin from the sun (especially if you’re fair-skinned)
- Quitting smoking and not using tobacco in any form (including vaping or chewing)
Making positive changes to your life that improve your health can go a long way. For example, if you’re a smoker, quitting now will cut your risk of lung cancer by 90%.
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Developing a Personalized Cancer Screening Plan
Complete our questionnaire to see your personalized screening recommendations, and take your results to your primary care doctor for review. Health insurance covers most cancer screening tests, but if you do not have health insurance and live in New York, you may be eligible for free breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings. Call 1-866-442-CANCER (2262) for more information or visit the Cancer Services website.
For more information about our screening program, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or click here to request an appointment.