Cancer Prevention and Screening

Melissa Kaime, MD, FACP
 Melissa Kaime, MD, FACP

In 2017 more than 1.6 million people will be diagnosed with a cancer in the United States. We can prevent many future cancers with some simple changes in our lifestyle. These changes also reduce the risk of many other diseases like cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

Mayo Clinic has provided seven cancer prevention tips.

  1. Don't use tobacco, in any form. Smoking causes 188,744 cancer deaths per year in the US.
  2. Eat a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid obesity, moderate your alcohol intake and limit processed meats.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active.
  4. Protect yourself from the sun.
  5. Get immunized against hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV).
  6. Avoid risk behaviors. Practice safe sex and don't share needles.
  7. Get regular medical care, including screening for skin, cervical, breast and colon cancers.

Screening tests helps find and treat several types of cancer early, leading to easier treatment and reducing the chance of dying from that cancer. Screening tests can have potential harms and benefits so it is helpful to discuss the role of screening with your physician.

There are several screening tests that have shown to reduce cancer deaths. 

  • Screening for colon or rectal cancer with a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or testing the stool for blood helps doctors detect and remove colon polyps before they develop into cancer.
  • Screening for lung cancer in heavy smokers with a CT scan can find an early stage cancer that can be removed before it spreads, increasing the chance of survival.
  • Screening for breast cancer reduces the chance of dying from breast cancer.
  • Screening for cervical cancer with a Pap test and HPV testing finds abnormal cells early, leading to treatment before cancer develops.

Your physician may recommend other screening tests depending on your family history and your current health problems. 

Take charge of your own cancer prevention and screening! Call your primary care physician or contact The Wellness Neighborhood of Tahoe Forest Health System at (530) 550-6730.

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