WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — During the month of February, Air Force Materiel Command will promote its Cancer Prevention Awareness Campaign.
The goal of the campaign is to inform the AFMC workforce of ways to reduce their risk of developing lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Among cancers that affect both men and women, lung cancer and colorectal cancer are the two leading causes of cancer-related death in the United States.
Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer-related death for both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Overall, the lifetime probability for a man to develop lung cancer is 1 in 13; for a woman, the risk is 1 in 16. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can lower your risk for developing lung cancer in the following ways:
• Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Cigarette smoking is linked to about 90 percent of lung cancers.
• Get your home tested for radon. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from rocks and dirt and can be trapped in houses and buildings. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
• Take precautions to protect yourself from exposure to airborne hazards such as diesel exhaust and chemicals. Follow health and safety guidelines in the workplace to reduce or eliminate the hazard.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, when men and women are combined. Colorectal cancer occurs in the colon or rectum. Sometimes it is called colon cancer. The lifetime probability of someone developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 20.
The CDC lists the following ways to lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer:
• Get screened for colorectal cancer if you are age 50 or older. Screening tests help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed. Screening also finds this cancer early, when treatment can be most effective.
• Maintain a healthy weight according to the Body Mass Index. Healthy weight range is 18.5 to 24.9 on the BMI height & weight chart.
• Be physically active with 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly.
• Don’t smoke.
• Limit alcoholic beverage consumption to one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.
Research is ongoing to find out if changes to diet can reduce your risk for colorectal cancer. Recent studies conducted by the World Health Organization suggest that regular consumption of processed meat such as bacon, hot dogs and sausages, can increase colorectal cancer risk.
Civilian Health Promotion Services will be offering educational briefings on cancer prevention throughout February.
For more information regarding CHPS activities for National Cancer Prevention Month, visit AFMCwellness.com or contact your local CHPS team. Comprehensive cancer information can be found at the National Cancer Institute website at www.cancer.gov.