Cancer Control and Prevention Month

Local health departments across the Michigan have designated October as Cancer Prevention and Control Month.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death among Americans, exceeded only by heart disease,” said Barb Peterson, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department.

“While breast cancer awareness is typically promoted in October, we need to take this opportunity to educate Dickinson and Iron County residents about other cancer screening services and resources available to them, as we are always working to promote healthy lifestyles,” Peterson said in a statement.

Regular screening and examinations by a health care provider can result in the prevention of cervical and colorectal cancers through the discovery and removal of precursor lesions.

Screening can detect cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, cervix, prostate, and oral cavity, and skin at earlier stages when treatment is more likely to be successful.

Cancers that can be prevented or detected earlier by screening account for about half of all new cancer cases.

In 2013, about 580,350 Americans are expected to die of cancer, almost 1,600 people per day. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S., exceeded only by heart disease, accounting for nearly one of every four deaths.

In 2013, the American Cancer Society estimated that 57,560 new cancer cases in Michigan were diagnosed (down from 57,790 in 2012) with 20,570 cancer deaths occurring in the state (slightly up from 20,430 in 2012, but down from 20,740 in 2010).

Michigan’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to underserved women aged 40-64 years in Dickinson and Iron counties.

Since the program started in 1992, statewide the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program has provided 478,377 screenings to uninsured and underinsured women with 4,023 breast cancers and 2,793 cervical cancers diagnosis.

For more information about the local Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, call 779-7237 in Dickinson County and 265-4166 in Iron County.

Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer.

The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke and to avoid all exposure to secondhand smoke. The Michigan Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) provides free tobacco cessation counseling services to all Michigan residents. Some may be eligible for free nicotine replacement therapy aides such as patches or gum, particularly the uninsured.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says individuals can reduce their risk of getting cancer in a variety of ways, including:

– Keeping a healthy weight: Research has shown that being overweight or obese substantially raises a person’s risk of getting endometrial (uterine), breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher.

– Avoiding tobacco: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and cigarette smoking causes almost all cases. Compared to nonsmokers, men who smoke are about 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer and women who smoke are about 13 times more likely. Smoking causes about 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80 percent in women

– Limiting alcohol intake: Studies around the world have shown that drinking alcohol regularly increases the risk of getting mouth, voice box, and throat cancers. Daily consumption of around 50g (about two shots) of alcohol doubles or triples the risk for these cancers, compared with the risk in nondrinkers. A large number of studies provide strong evidence that drinking alcohol is a risk factor for primary liver cancer, and more than 100 studies have found an increased risk of breast cancer with increasing alcohol intake.

– Protecting your skin from the sun: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays 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.

– Getting tested for hepatitis C: Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, which is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common type of viral hepatitis is hepatitis C. Over time, chronic hepatitis C can lead to serious liver problems including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer.

For more information about cancer prevention and control resources, contact the local health department or visit