Cancer Prevention Works Newsletter

Cancer Prevention Works

The monthly Cancer Prevention Works newsletter provides the latest information about activities and accomplishments in CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

Latest Issue

January 9, 2020

Cervical Cancer Awareness: Know Your Prevention Options

Happy and Healthy New Year! January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and this is a chance for women to start the year with healthy actions that can help prevent cervical cancer. Although cervical cancer occurs mostly in women over age 30, all women are at risk.

The main cause of cervical cancer is long-lasting infections with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical cancer. Getting recommended screenings (Pap test, HPV test, or both) can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early by detecting HPV and cell changes on the cervix that might become cancer.

New Video Raises Awareness of Cancer and Lymphedema

A new video featuring Kathy Bates, actor, cancer survivor, and national spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education and Research Network (LERN), is raising awareness about cancer and lymphedema (swelling in the body due to build-up of lymph fluid).

As an ovarian and breast cancer survivor diagnosed with lymphedema, Kathy discusses how cancer treatments and the removal of lymph nodes can affect the lymphatic system and helps educate patients about the symptoms of lymphedema. Key points in the video include encouraging cancer patients to talk with their medical team about options to prevent lymphedema or check for early signs to increase the chance of better managing the disease.

Get the Most from Your Health Goals in 2020

Many people start the new year with a resolution to get healthier by making better food choices in their diet, getting more physical activity, and quitting smoking. All of these are important steps that can improve your overall health and lower your risk of cancer. But there’s another step that people may not usually include in resolutions: Getting recommended cancer screenings and staying up-to-date with them. Age and family health history are factors that affect your risk for cancer. Paying attention to what screenings you need and when to get them is important for your journey to better health.

For cancer survivors, healthy behaviors can help lower the risk of having the cancer come back or getting a secondary cancer. Talk to Someone, a new virtual tool for cancer survivors, shares information and tips on four of the most important health concerns to help prevent getting cancer again: alcohol use, tobacco use, physical activity and healthy eating, and anxiety and depression.

On February 4th, World Cancer Day, follow us on Twitter for highlights from a satellite media tour that will feature Dr. Lisa Richardson, Director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, sharing more about health concerns for cancer survivors and the Talk to Someone tool.

Nine Health Threats That Made Headlines in 2019: A CDC Review

As we start a new decade, CDC is ready to put science into action to protect Americans from health threats and improve health for all. A look back at nine health threats in 2019 shows CDC’s work to protect the health of Americans. Among these, CDC estimated that 92% of cancers caused by HPV could be prevented by the HPV vaccine. See the other eight health threats that made headlines last year.

New CDC Super Bowl Ad Highlights Cancer Prevention

Cancer Prevention is defense

An event like no other, the Super Bowl, provides an opportunity to show good game plans with the power of offense and defense and also share important information that can make a difference. CDC’s new Super Bowl ad featuring cancer prevention awareness will be published in the Super Bowl LIV Official Souvenir Magazine Program distributed nationally in print at bookstores, airports, hotels, and kiosks as well as on the National Football League (NFL) website. Look for the new ad in February 2020.

Research Spotlight

Estimates of incidence and mortality of cervical cancer in 2018: a worldwide analysisexternal icon studies the current state of cervical cancer among women as a baseline to compare it to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Initiative to increase preventive, screening, and treatment interventions to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem.

Five-year U.S. trends in the North American Cancer Survival Index, 2005–2014external icon looks at changes in survival trends for all cancers combined, including an increase for overall five-year survival and a decreasing survival gap continuing between blacks and whites.

Did You Know?

  • Each year, nearly 13,000 women in the U.S. get cervical cancer.
  • Cervical cancer is the only gynecologic cancer that has a screening test (Pap test, HPV test, or both).
  • Lymphedema, a possible side-effect of cancer or cancer treatment, usually affects the arms or legs but can occur in other parts of the body.

Previous Issue

December 12, 2019

Helping Cancer Patients Prevent Infections

Infections are a major concern for people with cancer who are treated with chemotherapy (chemo). After chemo treatments, cancer cells as well as infection-fighting white blood cells are destroyed. This common and serious side effect of chemotherapy is called neutropenia. It means the body has a low number of white blood cells, and that makes it harder for people with cancer to fight off infections. For cancer patients, an infection can be life-threatening so it’s important to take steps to stop infections and act quickly if there are symptoms.

Handwashing often is an effective way to help prevent infections and can be critical for staying healthy during treatment. Watch out for signs of an infection such as a fever. If you are concerned, call a doctor right away. Knowing the signs of an infection and how to prevent infections is important for cancer patients, family members, friends, and caregivers.

Learning About Your Family Health History and Cancer Risk

During the holiday season, many of us will have family gatherings, activities, and conversations that will leave lasting memories. As you spend this time with your family, talk to relatives and learn about your family health history. Families may share certain genes, habits, and environments that can affect the risk of getting cancer. Having a family history of colorectal, breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer may put you at a higher risk for these cancers. When collecting information, find out which relatives had cancer, what kind, and when they were diagnosed.

Knowing your family’s history of cancer helps you understand your personal cancer risk and helps you and your doctor decide what screening tests you may need, when to start, and how often to be tested.

Understanding Flu Risk and Cancer

Seasonal influenza (flu) usually starts in the fall and peaks during the winter. Flu can lead to serious health problems for anyone, but people with cancer or a history of cancer are more likely to have serious complications if they get sick with the flu. The best way for cancer patients and survivors to protect against the flu is to get a flu shot. It’s also important for family members and caregivers of cancer patients and survivors to get a flu shot to prevent flu from spreading. People with flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away through coughing, sneezing, or talking. Everyone 6 months of age and older can help lower the risk of spreading the flu by getting a flu shot.

Reducing Excessive Alcohol Use Reduces Your Cancer Risk

Good choices related to alcohol can help lower the risk of certain cancers. Drinking alcohol can increase your risk for cancers of the liver, female breast, colon, rectum, mouth, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), and esophagus.
If you choose to drink, dietary guidelines recommend moderate alcohol use–up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your cancer risk. Excessive alcohol use includes binge drinking (four drinks or more for women and five drinks or more for men on a single occasion), heavy drinking (eight drinks or more per week for women and 15 drinks or more per week for men), and any alcohol use by pregnant women or those under the legal drinking age.

Drinking less alcohol can help lower your risk of cancer. Learn more about the guidelines for alcohol use and ways to help reduce excessive alcohol use.

Healthy Tips to Lower Your Cancer Risk

Each month this year, CDC has shared many ways to reduce the risk of cancer and help people stay healthy after cancer. In closing out one year and preparing to start another, here are some tips to remind you of healthy choices that can help prevent cancer.

  • Keeping a healthy weight can improve your overall health and help you lower your risk for 13 types of cancer.
  • Regular physical activity and a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables can help you keep or get to a healthy weight.
  • Protecting your skin by wearing sunscreen throughout the year helps prevent skin cancer.
  • Quitting smoking reduces your risk of cancer almost anywhere in the body. Reaching out for support to quit and starting with small goals can improve your chances of quitting for good.

In addition to healthy lifestyle choices, get recommended cancer screenings so that if cancer is found, it is in an early stage when treatment works best.

Research Spotlight

A new research collection includes five articles and a guest editorial describing the evaluation of CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program between 2009 and 2015, including timely colorectal cancer screening, outcomes from screening, state-level screening rates, and the cost of delivering the program.

Potentially excess deaths from the five leading causes of death in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties—United States, 2010–2017 shows that rural counties had higher percentages of preventable deaths from cancer and other leading causes of death than urban counties.

The new book Assessment of Cancer Screening: A Primerexternal icon explains in simple language why and how the population-level cancer burden changes when screening is implemented, and how to assess whether that change is beneficial. The book provides an in-depth look at many aspects of cancer screening assessment, including performance measures, population-level outcomes, research designs, and other important and timely topics. The PDF is available for free download.

Did You Know?

  • Neutropenia often occurs between 7 and 12 days after receiving chemotherapy. This period can be different depending on the chemotherapy given, but a doctor or nurse will let a patient know exactly when his or her white blood cell count is likely to be lowest.
  • All types of alcoholic drinks, including red and white wine, beer, cocktails, and liquor, are linked with cancer.
Page last reviewed: January 9, 2020