Let’s do Cancer Prevention Month right

Published on January 30, 2017

Updated on February 13, 2018

Let’s do Cancer Prevention Month right

This year alone, more than 1.6 million people will be diagnosed with cancer, but research shows that up to 50 percent of all cancer cases are preventable. Eating a healthy diet, staying active, avoiding all tobacco products and getting regular cancer screenings are effective ways to reduce your cancer risk.

Every Monday of Cancer Prevention Month, we are giving you two challenges to help you stay healthy and reduce your risk. Cancer Prevention Month starts on Wednesday, but we’re giving you a head start so you have a full week to complete the challenges. Check back each week to see the new challenges!

You made it! Here’s your last Cancer Prevention Month challenge:

Make an appointment for a physical or cancer screening

Regular health check-ups and cancer screenings can help you prevent cancer or detect it early. This week, make an appointment for a physical or cancer screening.

  • Some tests can detect cancer early, when treatment is more likely to be successful, and some can also detect precancerous conditions before they become cancer. While screening has been proven to save lives, screening guidelines are not always “one size fits all.” It’s important to talk to your health care professional about the cancer screening options available and what’s right for you.
  • If you haven’t seen your doctor in a while, schedule a physical exam this week. Regular physicals help you and your health care professional keep up with any changes in your body and ensure you’re in tip-top shape.

Talk to your family about your medical health history. You may be at greater risk for some cancers if you have a personal or family history of cancer or certain diseases.

  • Get together or hop on the phone this week to talk to your older relatives about your family’s medical history. Complete this family medical history chart and share it with your health care professional and other family members.
  • A detailed medical history helps you and your health care professional decide which cancer screenings you may need and when to begin them.

Congratulations on making healthy changes this month so you can Stop Cancer Before It Starts!® National Cancer Prevention Month may be ending, but don’t stop making healthy choices. Learn how you can protect yourself and your loved ones by reducing your cancer risk—visit

Week 4 starts today. Here is your challenge:

Tips to get you started:

Skip red meat and fried food this week

About one-third of all cancer cases diagnosed today are caused by an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. Choose lean proteins instead of red meat, which studies have linked to increased risk for colorectal cancer, and cut out fried foods full of calories and unhealthy fats.

  • Protein is one of the most essential nutrients your body needs, but you don’t have to get it from animal sources, which tend to be higher in fat and cholesterol. Try non-meat sources of protein like tofu, quinoa, seitan or beans.
  • Use ground turkey instead of beef in your favorite recipes. It has a similar texture and flavor, but less fat and cholesterol.
  • Grilling, roasting, steaming and stir-frying are all delicious and much healthier ways to prepare foods than frying. You’ll avoid the extra calories and fats in the breading and oil of fried foods without sacrificing delicious flavors.

Get 30 minutes of physical activity every day

A healthy, balanced lifestyle includes staying active. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day helps you lose weight, cut chronic disease risk and reduce stress.

  • New to working out? Start simple with a brisk 30 minute walk. It is one of the easiest forms of exercise, requires no expensive equipment and has amazing physical and mental benefits.
  • Plan a 30 minute workout into your schedule every day this week. Set reminders in your phone or try apps like Workout Plan to hold you accountable for the day’s workout.
  • Hit the gym with a workout buddy. Bringing a friend along makes sure you complete your workout or activity and you’ll have a good support system to get through a tough session.


Week 3

Tips to get you started:

Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night

One of the best things you can do for your body is get enough sleep. Sleep burns calories, helps protect your immune system and reduces cardiovascular disease risk.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. This allows your biological clock to stay consistent so you get better rest.
  • It’s hard to unplug, but avoid using your computer, cell phone or tablet right before bed. The blue light emitted by these screens halts the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle. This also keeps your brain alert, making it harder to fall asleep.
  • Caffeine stays in your system for up to eight hours, so stop consuming caffeine after 2 p.m. Caffeinated drinks can prevent your brain from entering a deep sleep or stop you from falling asleep.

Eat breakfast every day

The old saying is true―breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Studies show a daily healthful breakfast can help with weight loss, improve your concentration and performance, provide a more balanced diet and give you more energy throughout the day.

  • Not a morning person? Make your breakfast the night before. Add your favorite fruits and nuts to steel cut oats and almond milk for delicious overnight oats the next morning.
  • Scramble your favorite veggies with eggs and pour into a muffin tin. Bake these in the oven on Sunday and you’ll have a healthy breakfast on the go all week long.
  • Almond butter is another nutritionist-loved breakfast food. Put it on a banana, an apple or whole grain bread for a delicious and easy breakfast.

Getting enough sleep and eating breakfast each day will help you maintain a healthy weight to reduce your cancer risk. Being obese or overweight is linked to several types of cancer, so maintaining a healthy weight is critical to Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®


Week 2

Tips to get you started:

Take stairs instead of elevators

Walking up stairs is one of the best free workouts! Climbing stairs has been proven to aid in weight loss, prevent bone disorders, lower cholesterol and strengthen your heart.

  • Use the stairs all week at work, in your apartment building, at the mall or at other shopping centers. Walking up just a few flights per day can have a great impact on your health.
  • If you work at a desk all day, take regular stair breaks. Movement throughout your day is great for your physical and mental health.

Try a new workout or activity

The best way to find out what fitness routine works best for you is to try everything. Studies show that a new exercise routine can also help you feel more motivated to work out.

  • Look at your gym’s class calendar and pick a new class at random. You might surprise yourself with how much you enjoy something totally different from your normal workout.
  • Sites like Groupon or LivingSocial have great fitness packages available at low prices. Try out a yoga, dance fitness or martial arts class.
  • Look for recreation sports leagues near you like volleyball, basketball or floor hockey. Teams hold you accountable for making it to practice and you’ll make friends along the way.
  • Look for recreation sports leagues near you like volleyball, basketball or floor hockey. Teams hold you accountable for making it to practice and you’ll make friends along the way.

Let us know how you’re doing! Share photos and updates as you tackle these challenges, and let us know by tagging the Prevent Cancer Foundation on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!


Week 1

Tips to get you started:

Drink eight glasses of water

Every system in your body depends on water. Although no specific amount of water fits everyone, aiming for eight glasses a day is a great way to stay hydrated.

  • Drink before and during every meal
  • Use an app like Daily Water Free to track how much you drink and receive reminders to drink more
  • Add some flavor―adding fresh fruit, veggies or herbs to your water makes it easier to keep drinking

Eat a healthy homemade meal at least once every day

Home-cooked meals are a great way to stay healthy because you know what ingredients are going into your food. Make time this week to cook for yourself with fresh ingredients.



Are you emailing out the challenge starting Feb. 6?


Hey Gillan
Check the blog on Monday for the new weekly challenge but you can also email for more info.


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