Happy February! 2021 is in full swing and what better time than the present to help raise awareness and continue to incorporate healthy habits into your life? This month we raise awareness for National Cancer Prevention Month (including World Cancer Day on February 4th), American Heart Month, and Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month. How can you get involved?
National Cancer Prevention Month
National Cancer Prevention Month aims to provide education and support the advancement of cancer prevention research [i]. Many cancers may be prevented from lifestyle modification such as diet, exercise and limiting certain environmental exposures [i]. Learn how you can support the prevention of cancer and create healthy habits for you and your loved ones.
- Aim to maintain a healthy weight for your body [ii]. This takes into account a few different factors:
- Focus on consuming a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and limits processed foods and alcohol consumption [ii].
- Staying active can be a fun and effective way to maintain a healthy weight! Try an exercise like yoga to get active and reduce stress [iii].
- Avoid or Limit high risk behaviors [ii]. This includes:
- If you currently use tobacco products, consider quitting as tobacco use has been shown to increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers [ii].
- Avoid any unprotected exposure to the sun [ii]. Follow these sun safety tips from the CDC when you’re in the sun [iv]!
- Stay up to date with medical care [ii]:
- Get recommended screenings for your age, gender etc. Use these Cancer Screening Guidelines from the American Cancer Society to learn more [v].
- Visit your doctor regularly and more often if you have any new health concerns [ii].
- Stay up to date with vaccinations recommended for your age, gender etc. [ii].
American Heart Month
Heart Month aims to help individuals focus on their heart health through education, resources and lifestyle modifications [vi]. How can you participate?
- Reduce sodium intake! When cooking at home, try reducing salt in recipes or substituting with flavorful spices such as those highlighted in our Fall for New Flavors series [vii]. When shopping for food, look for “low sodium foods” or those containing less than 140 mg of sodium per serving [viii].
- Focus on healthy (unsaturated) fats. Unsaturated fats are fats that are typically liquid at room temperature and can help lower “bad cholesterol” (LDL) levels [ix]. Try adding foods such as vegetable oils, salmon and avocado in place of animal fats like butter.
Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month
Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancers are fairly rare forms of cancer that have a significant impact on the lives of those affected [x]. This brings to light the importance of awareness efforts. Here’s how you can get involved and increase prevention efforts:
- Educate yourself and others. Use this resource from the National Foundation for Cancer Research to learn more about risk factors and symptoms of these cancers [xi].
- Reduce your risk with lifestyle modifications. Although there are not any known ways to prevent these cancers, reducing alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco use may help to lower your risk [xii].
Learn more about National Cancer Prevention Month and American Heart Month here.
[i] National Cancer Prevention Month. Retrieved from: https://www.aacr.org/patients-caregivers/awareness-months/national-cancer-prevention-month/
[ii] Cancer Prevention: 7 Tips to Reduce Your Risk. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/cancer-prevention/art-20044816
[iii] Yoga: The Start of Something New. Retrieved from: https://savorhealth.com/yoga-start-something-new/
[iv] Sun Safety. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm
[v] Cancer Screening Guidelines. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/cancer-screening-guidelines.html
[vi] American Heart Month 2021. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/american_heart_month.htm
[vii] Recipes. Retrieved from: https://savorhealth.com/resources/recipes/
[viii] How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day? Retrieved from: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/how-much-sodium-should-i-eat-per-day
[ix] Fats. Retrieved from: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats
[x] Gallbladder Cancer and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month. Retrieved from: https://www.aacr.org/patients-caregivers/awareness-months/gallbladder-cancer-and-bile-duct-cancer-awareness-month/
[xi] Gallbladder Cancer and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month: Signs Symptoms and Risk Factors. Retrieved from: https://www.nfcr.org/blog/gallbladder-and-bile-duct-cancer-awareness-month-signs-symptoms-and-risk-factors/
[xii] Cholangiocarcinoma [bile duct cancer]. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cholangiocarcinoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20352408#:~:text=There’s%20no%20way%20to%20prevent,an%20increased%20risk%20of%20cholangiocarcinoma.