Preventing Cancer Isn't Just My Job—It's My Health, Too!


by Lisa C. Richardson, M.D., MPH (NAPSA)—As a mom, a wife, a doctor, and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)Division of Cancer Prevention 4 Ty and Control, I’m pretty busy, as you can imagine.Soit’s easy even for me to be tempted to put my health on the back burner. As an oncologist, I Dr. Richardson know better. As ——— the person looking out for my family’s health, I realize I have to practice what I preach— and that’s cancer prevention. Take Time ForTests My 50th birthday was a great reminder that I needed some can- cer screening tests. Not just women, but everyone age 50 and older needs to get regularly screened for colorectal (colon) cancer. Almost all colorectal cancers start as polyps, or abnormal growths in the colon or rectum. Screening can help find these polyps so they can be removed before turning into cancer. That’s right—screening can actually prevent cancerbeforeit starts. I also scheduled my mammogram. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, after skin cancer. The the age of 50 is one decision that women should make with their doctor. There are several screening tests that we all need reminders of—for instance, I asked my doctor when my last Pap test was. Pap tests are recommended every three years for women ages 21-65, but there are other screening options, too. Here’s another example where screening and early detection can actually prevent cancer. While not all cancers can be prevented, we canall take steps to help keep ourselves healthy. I urge you, if you smoke, to quit now—CDC offers free resources to help. Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in women. If you are over 55 and a current smoker, or someone who has quit within the past 15 years, ask your doctor about lung cancer screening. Save Your Skin I’m also careful to protect my skin when I go outside. I remind my son that it’s easy to use sunscreen, wear protective clothes, or hang out in the shade when you can. Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer every year in the U.S. Skin cancer can be serious, expensive, and sometimes even deadly. Fortunately, most skin cancers can be prevented. Just as I urge my friends, fam- risk of developing breast cancer grows as women get older. Current recommendations are for ily, and neighbors to take action against cancer, I challenge you to do the same! mogram (an X-ray picture of the breasts) every two years. Whether to screen for breast cancer before For more information about cancer screening and prevention, go to women ages 50-74 to get a mam- Learn More