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 14, 2021

CDC’s Inside Knowledge Launches New Survivor Story Animations, Encouraging Women to Listen to Their Bodies

For January’s Cervical Cancer Awareness month, CDC’s Inside Knowledge campaign has new story animations featuring powerful and heartfelt stories told by real gynecologic cancer survivors. A first for the campaign, these animations capture voice recordings of cancer survivors describing their experiences. Ana, a cervical cancer survivor, shares her emotional journey and advice for women to speak up and ask questions about their health. “Going through treatment I was really angry. Now, almost four years later, I am empowered. I’m not afraid to question my doctors about my own health,” she says.

Inside Knowledge promotes awareness about gynecologic cancers among women and uses creative multimedia approaches including Facebook and YouTube to reach women and provide information on the importance of screening tests and the HPV vaccine.

Cervical Cancer: What Women Need to Know

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is a good time for women to learn two important things about cervical cancer: it is preventable and treatable. You can prevent cervical cancer with regular screenings and getting vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes most cervical cancers. Screening tests (Pap test and HPV test) help find cell changes and HPV infections before they can turn into cervical cancer. When cervical cancer is found and treated early, treatment works best.

CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) supports state, tribal, and territorial programs with screening and diagnostic services for underserved women across many communities. Recent success in Indiana and Michigan shows that using screening reminders and standard processes can help more women get screened for cervical cancer and save lives. Indiana’s RIGGS Community Health Center increased screening from 65% in 2019 to 87% in 2020. In Michigan, fewer than one-third of women patients at the Oaklawn Medical Group Olivet clinic had been screened for cervical cancer; in two years, more than half were up-to date with screening.

New from CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program: Highlights from the Field

For cancers that affect men and women, colorectal cancer is the second most deadly cancer in the United States. Screening saves lives because it can find abnormal growths so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment works best. CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) and its community partners are working together to increase screening rates.

“Highlights from the Field” shows how communities across the country are preventing colorectal cancer and saving lives. The video shares approaches used in Kentucky, West Virginia, Illinois, and Louisiana to increase screening.

Protect Your Health: Get a Flu Vaccine

While the holidays are behind us, the risk for getting the flu is not. This is especially true for people with cancer or cancer survivors who may have a weak immune system due to their cancer or treatment. Being vaccinated for the flu is important for them because of their higher risk of having serious medical problems, such as pneumonia, if they do get the flu. CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months should be vaccinated for the flu, but fewer than half of Americans typically get a flu shot each year.

Dr. Lisa Richardson, Director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, poses a series of questions in a new blog to help you know if the flu vaccine is right for you or a loved one. To help encourage people to get the flu vaccine, Dr. Richardson, along with a few special guests, made a videoexternal icon highlighting the importance of getting a flu shot. Remember, when you get a flu shot, you are protecting your health as well as that of others.

New Resource for Health Care Providers to Help Cancer Survivors Stay Healthy

Healthy behaviors are important for cancer survivors. Health care providers can help promote healthy behaviors and prepare cancer survivors for possible late effects of cancer and its treatment on their physical well-being. Let’s Talk: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Cancer Survivors is a new simulation that provides a safe and responsive learning environment for health care providers to practice effective communication techniques for discussing nutrition, physical activity, and obesity risk with cancer survivors.

This new interactive virtual environment allows providers to take part in role-playing conversations about being active and maintaining a healthy weight. Health care providers can learn motivational interviewing skills, an evidence-based clinical method for identifying and building motivation to make healthy choices and engage in healthy behaviors.

Research Spotlight

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that causes nearly all cervical cancers. Assessing impact of HPV vaccination on cervical cancer incidence in women 15–29 years in the United States, 1999–2017: an ecologic studyexternal icon looks at new cases of cervical cancer among young women using cancer registry data. The study found that new cases of cervical cancers decreased among girls and young women who were 15 to 29 years old from 1999 to 2017. Among women who were 21 to 24 years old, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) rates decreased 5.5% per year. The largest decrease in SCC rates was among girls and women who were 15 to 20 years old, with a 12.7% decrease per year.

Predicted heart age among cancer survivors—United States, 2013–2017, examines the risk of heart disease among cancer survivors. This study estimates predicted heart age and excess heart age (difference between predicted heart age and actual age), and explores this by race/ethnicity, education level, and household income. Study results show that cancer survivors are at risk for developing heart disease at younger ages and supports a focus on cardiovascular health in wellness plans for cancer survivors.

Did You Know?

  • Smoking increases a woman’s risk for cervical cancer.
  • About 80% of people will get an HPV infection in their lifetime. The body’s immune system gets rid of most HPV infections naturally within two years, but long-lasting infections can cause cancer. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that often cause cancer.

Previous Issue

December 10, 2020

Healthy Holiday Tips and Ways to Lower Your Cancer Risk

For some, the holiday season can be a time of year when it is hard to keep healthy habits on track. Making healthy choices are a good way to stay healthy, but there’s more to it. You can lower your risk for many kinds of cancer by making healthy choices. As you take part in your holiday traditions, you can lower your cancer risk by—

  • Avoiding or limiting alcohol. Drinking any kind of alcohol can raise your risk of some cancers such as female breast, liver, and colon and rectum.
  • Making healthy food choices. Choose fruits and vegetables, limit foods high in fat and sugar, and watch your portion sizes. Overweight and obesity can put people at a higher risk for several cancers.
  • Staying active. Take a walk after your holiday meal or enjoy a game that includes physical activity. Getting regular physical activity lowers your risk for several cancers.

What You Need to Know to Protect Cancer Patients from Infection

Infections can have serious complications for cancer patients. An infection can happen when your immune system is unable to fight off bacteria, viruses, and other germs. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy can reduce the number of infection-fighting white blood cells and put people with cancer at a higher risk of infection. Some symptoms of an infection include fever, cough, sore throat, and swelling in any area. Call your doctor right away if you notice a fever or other symptoms of infection.

One of the best ways you can prevent an infection is to wash your hands often. You can learn the five steps for effective handwashing, find out the key times to wash your hands, and get tips to prevent germs from spreading when cooking—all from this new blog post.

A New Way to Get Cancer Data

United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) are the official source for federal cancer data and provides information on new cancer cases and deaths for the whole U.S. population. USCS Stat Bites are a new way for you to get cancer data. USCS Stat Bites give a summary of the latest cancer cases, deaths, prevalence, and survival data focused on a specific cancer. Summaries include the number of cancer cases diagnosed and the rates of cancer among men and women by age. You can find out how lung, colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers affect men and women differently and get the survival rates.

Learn, Share, and Use Your Family Health History

Family health history is an important part of understanding your risk for certain diseases like cancer. Your risk for colorectal, uterine, ovarian, and breast cancers may be higher if you have family members with these cancers. While you can’t change your family health history, knowing about it can help you take steps to lower your risk with healthy choices and early screening. Sharing your family health history with your doctor can help guide decisions on when to start early screening tests and how often to be tested. It will also guide you and your doctor in deciding if genetic counseling or testing may be right for you.

Making healthy choices like getting regular physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, and not smoking are steps you can take to lower your risk of cancer. So, when it comes to family health history, learn about it, share it, and use it.

New Data Brief on Urologic Cancers in Men

Urologic cancer in men is any cancer that starts in a man’s reproductive or urinary tract organs. A new U.S. Cancer Statistics data brief finds that during 2013 to 2017, one of three cancers diagnosed in men was a urologic cancer. From 2013 to 2017, more than 300,000 urologic cancers were found in men each year; 67% of those were found in the prostate. The other urologic cancers were found in the urinary bladder (19%), the kidney or renal pelvis (13%), and the testis (3%).

Prostate cancer is the most common urologic cancer among all men, but the rates are significantly higher in non-Hispanic Black men compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Testicular cancer is more common among young men with the highest incidence (new cases) in men who are 20 to 39 years old.

Research Spotlight

The proportion of lung cancer patients who are never smokers is increasing in the United States. Proportion of never smokers among men and women with lung cancer in 7 U.S. statesexternal icon examines population-based cancer registries to describe smoking status at lung cancer diagnosis. More than 84% of women and 90% of men who were newly diagnosed with lung cancer had ever smoked cigarettes. Half of newly diagnosed patients who were 20 to 64 years old were current cigarette smokers. This report supports the need to strengthen and increase cigarette cessation and lung cancer screening uptake among high-risk current and former smokers.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for several kinds of cancer, but screening is not fully used in the United States. Preventing breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer deaths: Assessing the impact of increased screening looks at the number of deaths that could be avoided by increasing screening for colorectal, female breast, and cervical cancers according to USPSTF recommendations. Organized screening approaches with partnerships between public health agencies and primary health care organizations to implement evidence-based strategies could reduce the prevalence of these cancers.

Did You Know?

  • The CDC COVID Data Tracker provides COVID-19 cases and related information reported to CDC from across the U.S. You can find COVID-19 cases by state and county, compare state trends, view community impact, unique populations, and more.
  • About 5% to 10% of breast cancers and 10% to 15% of ovarian cancers are hereditary. This means they run in your family and could be caused by a change in certain genes that you inherited from your mother or father.

Did You Know?

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States.
  • People who smoke are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer. Even smoking a few cigarettes a day or smoking occasionally increases the risk of lung cancer.
Page last reviewed: January 14, 2021