February is National Cancer Prevention Month but being aware is not enough. The Cancer Prevention in Action Program (CPiA) urges people to lower cancer risk by making healthy choices, getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cancer, and staying up to date on cancer screenings.
Screening tests for cervical and colon cancer can find cancer before it starts. Mammograms can find breast cancer early, which means treatment may be easier and more successful. Getting the HPV vaccine can prevent about 90 percent of seven different types of cancer.
Yet, during the pandemic, in two April 2020 reports, cervical cancer screening dropped nationwide by 83 percent, mammograms by 87 percent and colonoscopies by 90 percent. HPV vaccination decreased by 73 percent. This is due to the temporary shutdown of medical offices for routine care to curb the spread of COVID-19.
CPiA works to decrease cancer in our communities. We help employers set policies for paid time off to get cancer screenings for their employees. CPiA provides education in our community on the importance of the HPV vaccine for adolescents. CPiA also works with businesses, schools and community partners to adopt safety policies to reduce exposure to ultraviolet rays.
CPiA continues to do our work throughout the pandemic because cancer will not wait for the pandemic to end. To learn more about CPiA, which is supported with funds from the State of New York, contact us at www.takeactionagainstcancer.com
Health Education Promotions Coordinator
Cancer Prevention in Action of Fulton, Montgomery & Schenectady Counties