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Do Everything You Can to Prevent Cancer

From Debra Wilson, Lee Health’s Vice President of Oncology

Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide.

With an estimated 1.9 million new cancer cases and more than 600,000 cancer deaths in the United States just last year, cancer continues to claim the lives of thousands of our loved ones every day.

And according to the American Cancer Society, those numbers are the same for this year too.

While not all cancer is preventable, you can help reduce your risk by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Along with being active and getting at least one hour of moderate activity or 30 minutes of vigorous activity a day, you should also do your best to eat healthy.

A nutritious diet consists of plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of proteins, like poultry, fish and legumes. You should limit sugar, alcohol and salt.

Cancer prevention also includes avoiding tobacco. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and cigarette smoking causes almost all cases. Compared to nonsmokers, current smokers are about 25 times more likely to die from lung cancer. Smoking causes about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths.

Protecting your skin is also extremely important, especially in an area like Southwest Florida.

Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds appears to be the most important environmental factor involved with developing skin cancer. To help prevent skin cancer while still having fun outdoors, protect yourself by seeking shade, applying sunscreen, and wearing sun-protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses.

In addition to these prevention measures, it’s crucial that you get recommended screenings.

Getting screening tests regularly may find breast, cervical, and colorectal (colon) cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best. When you should get different screenings depends on your age and risk factors. Please talk to your healthcare provider about when you should be screened.

If you do need treatment, Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center can help. Through the Regional Cancer Center, those in Southwest Florida do not have to leave our community and the support of family and friends to receive the world-class care they need during their fight against cancer.

To learn more about cancer prevention and our services at the Regional Cancer Center, visit www.leehealth.org.