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Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Yet, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 30% and 50% of all cancer cases are preventable. “Prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer,” states WHO. February is National Cancer Prevention Month — a time to raise awareness of cancer risk factors and encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyles, which may help them avoid this deadly disease.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are expertly trained to provide patient-centered care and treat the whole patient, which means they are ideally suited for promoting cancer prevention in their communities. For National Cancer Prevention Month, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) has compiled information on the importance of preventive care for patients at risk of cancer, encouraging screenings and ways NPs can best assist their patients through the cancer journey.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion estimates that each year, roughly 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer, with approximately 600,000 people dying from this chronic disease. However, NPs and other health care professionals diligently work to spread awareness of the risk factors for cancer, and the results are starting to show. From 2015 to 2019, “overall cancer death rates continued to decline among men, women, children, and adolescents and young adults in every major racial and ethnic group in the United States” the CDC reported. In fact, findings from the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer show that overall cancer death rates decreased by 2.1% per year from 2015 to 2019.
You can continue to reduce the risk of cancer in your community by promoting healthy lifestyles for your patients and addressing the risk factors for this disease. Explore the following resources for tackling prominent cancer risk factors.
In addition to living a healthy lifestyle, screening and early detection have proven invaluable in the ongoing fight against cancer. A recent article in the AANP News Feed regarding lung cancer highlighted how screening can make a dramatic difference in preventing the leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths. As referenced in the article, the American Lung Association states that, “If lung cancer is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving five years or more improves to 60%.”
AANP is here to support you in preventing cancer deaths through early detection and screening. Consider the following tools and activities to help keep you up to date on various cancer screening updates.
Alongside the call to prevent cancer is a complementary goal for National Cancer Prevention Month: to improve the quality of life for those who have received treatment and survived the disease. “Due to the recent increase in early cancer detection and advanced cancer treatment technology, more than 16.9 million Americans (5% of the U.S. population) with a history of cancer were alive in 2019,” states a study in the National Library of Medicine. The journey of receiving a cancer diagnosis, obtaining treatment and living as healthily as possible afterward is one that is fraught with many difficulties and personal crises.
You can treat the whole patient to ensure their emotional and mental health remain strong as they navigate their cancer journey in hopes of living a cancer-free life. Make use of the following activities to help shepherd your community through these difficult times.
Are you looking for a unique opportunity to interactively collaborate with colleagues who share an interest or clinical expertise in oncology? Join the Oncology Specialty Practice Group (SPG) or one of 27 other AANP Communities and gain access to a cutting-edge, online forum where you can engage in discussions, document sharing and knowledge exchange with fellow NPs. Come learn, share and help progress the development of theory and practice in your specialty.