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Cancer Prevention: Save lives by raising awareness


National Cancer Awareness Month is held annually every February. 
The initiative aims to raise awareness about cancer and spread the importance of early detection, which is paramount to its prevention.
This 2023 marks the second year of the campaign “Close the care gap” to reduce the inequities that exist in accessing quality cancer services worldwide.
According to Dr. Rosario Pitargue, head of clinical oncology at the Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City, Pangasinan, the five most common cancer diseases in the country are breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, and prostate cancer.
“Top cancer diseases that lead to mortality include lung cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, and breast cancer,” she said during the Tongtongan ed PIA (Pag-uusap sa PIA) media forum of the Philippine Information Agency on Monday.
This situation is not all doom and gloom.
Pitargue said that raising awareness and knowledge as well as early detection will improve cancer outcomes by providing care at the earliest possible stage so patients have the best chance for successful treatment.
Early diagnosis is important, but cancer cases could be prevented and the number of cancer deaths could be reduced significantly by choosing a cancer-smart lifestyle.
Dr. Dean Zenarosa, resident doctor of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), shared some lifestyle changes we can make to help reduce the risk of cancer.
Here are some tips:
Quit smoking
Not smoking is the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer.  Harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke affect the entire body, not just our lungs. If you smoke, the best thing you can do for your health is quit.
Be wise, exercise
Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week can make a big difference in your general health and well-being. Make it a priority to move more and sit less. Add exercise to your routine to reduce stress, increase energy, boost your immune system, control your weight and reduce your risk of cancer.
Eat right
Having healthy food and drink can reduce your risk of cancer. Aim to have plenty of fruit and vegetables, wholegrain foods high in fiber and healthy proteins. Cut down on processed and red meat, alcohol and high calorie foods and drinks.
Wear sunscreen
Being safe in the sun reduces the risk of skin cancer. Too much UV (ultraviolet) radiation from the sun or sunbeds damages our skin cells. When the sun is strong, take extra care to protect your skin – spend time in the shade, cover up with clothing, and use sunscreen.
Cut back on alcohol
Cutting back on alcohol reduces your risk of seven types of cancer. It doesn't matter what type it is – all alcohol can cause damage. Whatever your drinking habits, drinking less alcohol will improve your health.
HPV vaccine
The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine is offered for free to children aged 11-13, and some other groups. It helps protect against HPV infection, reducing the risk of some types of cancer. The vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective. 
Remember these tips because being informed is the first step towards change! (JCR/AMB/PIA Pangasinan)

About the Author

April Bravo


Region 1

April M. Montes-Bravo is an Information Officer III of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Region 1. She is currently the Information Center Manager of PIA Pangasinan Information Center based in Dagupan City and  regional editrix of PIA-Region 1.

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