According to the CDC, breast and skin cancer are the most common cancers among women in the United States. Both diseases affect men as well. The CDC also shares that lung cancer is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States.
Cancer AWAREness campaigns provide students with information on prevention and early detection.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a term used to describe a disease in which abnormal cells grow out of control. There are over 100 diseases that classify as cancer. Cancer cells can invade, or grow into, other tissues and form tumors. Cancer may spread, but it is always named for the place where it started. For example, cancer that starts in the breast is called breast cancer. Cancer can be a complex topic for some to understand. For more information on the basics of cancer, you can visit the American Cancer Society website.
Are You AWARE?
According to the World Health Organization, at least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. Take a free Cancer Risk Test to identify behaviors that may lead to cancer and ways to reduce your risk.
Below are additional ways that you can reduce your chances of developing cancer.
Tobacco use is the single greatest avoidable risk for cancer mortality worldwide. Tobacco is linked to many types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and cervix. If you use tobacco products and want to quit, help is available. Contact the Student Wellness and Engagement office to learn more about tobacco cessation.
Research suggests that the risk of cancer increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Some people think that certain types of alcohol are “safer” than others, but this is not true because ethanol is found in all alcoholic drinks (i.e., beer, wine, liquor, and spirits). When looking at the link between alcohol and cancer, the amount of alcohol that is drunk over time, not the type of drink, appears to be the most important factor in raising cancer risk.
It is recommended by multiple sources that you limit your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink a day for women. For more information on alcohol, contact the Student Wellness and Engagement office.
Regular physical activity will considerably reduce cancer risk, as there is a link between overweight and obesity to many types of cancers. Physical activity is anything that gets you moving! The CDC recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. For some, it may sound like a lot, but you can accomplish this goal by taking a 10-minute walk, three times a day, five days a week. To learn more, read the CDC’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Diet (what you eat or don’t eat) is linked to some types of cancers, but the exact reasons are not yet clear. The American Cancer Society recommends the following diet, to help lower cancer risk:
- Fresh vegetables and fruits
- Whole grains over refined grains and sugars
- Limited red meat (i.e., beef, pork, and lamb)
- Limited processed meat (i.e., bacon, deli meat, and hot dogs)
For more information on diet and nutrition, students can make an appointment with the Nutrition Connection. The Nutrition Connection is a free service to IUP students concerned about healthy eating habits, fitness, weight management, nutrition-related medical problems, or eating disorders. For more information, please call 724-357-4797.
Early Detection is the Best Protection
To find cancer early, while it’s small and before it has spread, adults should have regular tests called screening exams. These tests help your medical provider find common cancers before they cause symptoms. Talk to your medical provider about which screening tests might be right for you. If cancer is found early, it can be easier to treat. Survival also tends to be longer for those with early cancer.