Patricia Checko and Elaine O'Keefe
Developing and maintaining healthful habits and behaviors, especially not using tobacco, being physically active, and eating a healthful diet can prevent many cancers. Evidence suggests that tobacco smoking causes about 90% of lung cancers and one-third of all cancer deaths, and another one-third of all cancers may be due to poor diet, lack of physical activity, and related obesity.
- Tobacco. More than 5,400 Connecticut residents die each year from smoking related illnesses, about 2,000 of which are cancers.
- Nutrition and physical activity. Eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly may lower risk of developing some cancers. Obesity is associated with increased risk for many cancers.
- Environmental exposures, especially sun. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and artificial tanning devices is associated with an increase in melanoma and other skin cancers. Workplace exposures and pollutants account for more than 30,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, and disproportionately affect low-income workers and communities.
- Excessive alcohol use. Excessive consumption of alcohol is associated with oral, laryngeal, pharyngeal, liver, and esophageal cancers and possibly other cancers.
- Unprotected sex. Human papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted by sexual contact, is an established cause of cervical cancer in women. Up to 10% of cancers are associated with infectious diseases.
The Prevention Committee is focusing primarily on tobacco use, poor diet, and physical inactivity, because they have proven to be significant risk factors for cancer. In addition, the Prevention Committee is working to coordinate efforts among its partners to address other risk factors, including exposure to carcinogens, and ultraviolet radiation, excessive alcohol use, and unprotected sex.
The prevention goal for the 2009-2013 Connecticut Cancer Plan is to: Reduce cancer risk, incidence, and mortality through the development and adoption of policies and interventions that support healthy lifestyles and risk reduction practices among children and adults.
Click on the link below to download the Prevention chapter of the Connecticut Cancer Plan.
The Continuum of Cancer Control: Prevention