World Cancer Day
You can help create a future free of cancer for yourself, your family, and your community.
Most cancers take years to develop. Different factors, called risk factors, can raise the chance of getting cancer over time. They are links in a chain of events that can lead to cancer.
You can’t change some risk factors, like your age or family health history. But you have more control over many risk factors. For example, you can choose not to smoke and to stay away from other people’s smoke. You can also choose to get the cancer screening tests that are recommended for people your age.
You can also make choices to help your kids live long, cancer-free lives. Getting both boys and girls vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) at age 11 or 12 can prevent almost all HPV-associated cancers. Making sure your kids protect their skin from the sun when playing outside, and teaching them not to use tanning beds, will greatly lower their chance of getting skin cancer—the most common kind of cancer.
Communities can take steps to help people stay cancer-free too. For example, parks, sidewalks, and bike trails can make it easier for people to get exercise. And higher levels of physical activity can lower people’s chance of getting certain kinds of cancer. Making public venues smoke-free can help prevent many kinds of cancer, not just lung cancer. Providing shade and sunscreen at parks and pools helps families have fun outside without increasing their skin cancer risk.
Cancer Is Not Inevitable
You probably know several people who have had cancer. In fact, it may seem like most people get cancer sooner or later. But the truth is, most people don’t get cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, 3 out of 5 people will never be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime.
For most people, cancer doesn’t have to be a part of growing older. Many common kinds of cancer can be prevented. Screening tests can find breast, cervical, and colorectal (colon) cancers early, when they’re easiest to treat.
Break one link in the chain—prevent a sunburn, don’t smoke, get screened for colon cancer, keep a healthy weight—and the odds of getting cancer go down.
What will you do to break the cancer chain and help create a world without cancer?