Posts Tagged ‘Cancer Prevention’

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, yet about 40% of cancers are preventable. Earlier this year, President Biden named April National Cancer Control month. Prior to the release of his proclamation, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) had named February Cancer Prevention month. Regardless of the month, it is never a bad time to focus on cancer prevention! If you visit the AICR website, you can take an online pledge to learn about and lower your risk of cancer. The AICR recommends these healthy lifestyle behaviors to prevent cancer and promote overall health:

dumbbells and gym shoes
  1. Be a healthy weight.
  2. Be physically active.
  3. Eat a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans.
  4. Limit consumption of “fast foods” and other processed foods that are high in fat, starches, or sugars.
  5. Limit consumption of red and processed meat.
  6. Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.
  7. Limit alcohol consumption.
  8. Do not use supplements for cancer prevention.
  9. Do not smoke and avoid exposure to tobacco.
  10. Avoid excess sun exposure.
  11. For mothers: breastfeed, if you can.
  12. After a cancer diagnosis: continue to follow these recommendations, if you can.
a bowl of fresh fruit

In addition to preventing cancer, following these recommendations is likely to reduce intakes of salt, saturated fats, and trans fats. Together, all of these healthy lifestyle behaviors will also help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. 

Not sure where to start? The AICR has an online, interactive cancer health check tool where you can identify what you are already doing to prevent cancer and what you could improve.

If you want to participate in a structured program to establish better eating and exercise habits to prevent cancer, the Healthy10 challenge is a 10-week program to help you put the AICR healthy lifestyle behaviors into practice.

a doctor holding a clipboard

In addition to healthy lifestyle behaviors, it is important to have recommended cancer screenings. When cancer does happen, early detection through effective screening can reduce the chance of significant harm or death. Be sure to talk with your doctor about recommended cancer screenings.

Written by Heather Hadam, Dietetic Intern, The Ohio State University and Jenny Lobb, MPH, RDN, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Franklin County.

Reviewed by Laura Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Warren County.


American Institute for Cancer Research. https://www.aicr.org/cancer-prevention/cancer-prevention-campaign

National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (2022). Screening Tests. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/screening/screening-tests

The White House (2022). A Proclamation on National Cancer Control Month, 2022. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/03/31/national-cancer-control-month-2022

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October is Cranberry Month! Cranberries were one of those fruits that my family did not eat very often. Several years ago my step-dad was reading a mystery book and found a recipe for “Killer Cranberry Scones”  – the main character in the book was known for these. When he found the recipe in the back of the book he asked me to make them for him. Everyone loved them, and ever since I have tried many recipes using cranberries.

Now is the time of year when cranberries are in season. If you purchase some and do not have the time to use them, you can freeze them. This is a great way to have cranberries all year long.

According to the Cranberry Institute: 1 cup of raw cranberries has about 50 calories. Cranberries are also associated with these health benefits:

  • Urinary tract health – may reduce the risk of UTI’s, a painful condition that afflicts some 11 million American women each year.
  • Heart health – try cranberries in salads, trail mixes, or smoothies. They are the perfect addition to a heart-healthy diet.
  • Ulcers – cranberries may prevent adhesion of the bacteria H. pylori to the lining of the stomach.
  • Whole body benefits – cranberries provide a myriad of health benefits.  All commonly enjoyed cranberry products contain beneficial antioxidants.

According to the American Cancer Society, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk for cancer and developing other chronic diseases.

Looking for a new recipe to try? Check out these recipes from USDA’s Recipe Finder, What’s Cooking?

Perfect for fall is the Apple Cranberry Salad Toss. Doesn’t it look yummy?

Cranberry Nut Bread makes a perfect option for breakfast, lunch or snack. Add fresh cranberries to your favorite muffins or bread recipe.

Another source for easy-to-follow cranberry recipes, can be found at USCranberries.com.

For more information on cranberries, visit The Cranberry Institute.

Do you have a favorite cranberry recipe? If so, share it in our comments.


The Top 10 Reasons to Recommend Cranberries


Rediscover Cranberries!


Writer: Brenda Sandman-Stover, Extension Program Assistant, 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Greene County.

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.


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Do you think windows will provide sun safety protection? Think again. Glass windows only effectively block Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, leaving you exposed to Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Car windshields are partially treated to filter out UVA rays, but side windows may be letting in 63% of the UVA rays.

Does it really make a difference? A recent study published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology discovered 53% of all skin cancers in the US occur on the left side (driver’s side) of the body. With early, non-invasive melanomas 76% were found to be on the left side.car windshield

Since, many of us drive our cars without applying sun screen or at least not doing it within the last two hours, how can we protect ourselves? Besides sunscreen you can have transparent window film applied to your car windows which will screen out almost 100% of the UVA and UVB rays without reducing visibility. It is available throughout the US. To ensure quality of window film, check to see if the product has The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.

Sunroofs also increase your exposure to UVA rays. The study found over 82% of the skin cancers were on the person’s head or neck. If you have a sunroof keep it closed on sunny days or wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen. The second most common area for skin cancers were on the arm, so put on sunscreen and a long-sleeve shirt. Be sure and wear sun glasses too.

So if you are not safe from UVA rays in the car, what about your home or office windows? You guessed it. UVA rays are getting through. Another study found more signs of sun damage on the sides of people’s faces that were closer tapartment windowso a window. Home or office windows may allow at least 50% of the UVA rays to pass through. Wrinkles were one of the signs of sun damage seen along with rougher textured skin. The study found exposure to UVA rays accelerated the aging of the skin by five to seven years. This exposure increases your risk of skin cancer.

How do you protect yourself? Wear at least a 15 SPF sunscreen everyday year around. Install protective window film to the windows facing the sun of your office and home. Do you have shaded areas around your house for outdoor activities? If not install shade sails, awnings, or verandas with materials blocking out 94% as recommended. Trees and vine-covered pergolas can provide needed shade for outdoor activities as well as shade to windows in the house. Check out WebShade (www.webshade.com.au/) to do a shade audit for your property or to see how you can plan shade around your home.

Protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays by using sunscreen, installing protective window film, wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Long-sleeve clothing will also help. Don’t forget to buckle up to stay safe.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewer: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD,LD, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA

American Cancer Society, [2015]. What’s your sun safety IQ? Available at http://www.cancer.org/healthy/toolsandcalculators/quizzes/sun-safety/index
Greenwood, J. [2015]. Sun-safe homes. Available at http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/shade/sun-safe-homes

Skin Cancer Foundation, [2015]. Driving is linked to more skin cancers on the left side of the body. Available at http://www.skincancer.org/publications/sun-and-skin-news/summer-2010-27-2/driving-linked

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beach scene

Photo:  American Cancer Society

It’s almost summertime and that means backyard barbecues, pool parties, and lazy afternoons in the sun.  Before you head outdoors be sure to apply enough sunscreen to generously coat skin that will not be covered by clothing – at least an ounce (or the amount in a shot glass).  Most people only apply ¼ to ½ of the amount of sunscreen that they actually need.   It should be applied at least 15 minutes before going outside so your skin has time to absorb the lotion.  Be sure to use a broad spectrum water-resistant formula that protects against UVA and UVB rays with a minimum SPF of 30.  Reapply lotion at least every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily.

Some areas of the body can be particularly vulnerable to sun damage.  Here’s how to protect those danger-prone areas from head to toe:

Scalp:  Hair doesn’t protect your scalp much, especially as hair thins while we age.  Since you can’t really put sunscreen on your head, be sure to wear a broad-brimmed hat made of a tightly woven fabric.

Face:  Noses, tops of ears and lips are very vulnerable to sun damage.  Be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily and apply generously to your ears and nose.  Apply lip balm with sunscreen.

Eyes:  Eyes can get sunburned when the sun is reflected off water or snow.  The damage is cumulative which increases the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.  Choose sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays with frames that contour your face.  Don’t forget the kids, too!

Back:  The skin on the back is the one of the most common spots for melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer.  Have a family member or friend apply sunscreen and watch for changes (ragged edges, varying color and sizes larger than a pencil eraser) in moles or other skin lesions.

Hands:  The backs of our hands get exposed to the sun every day, resulting in thin crackled skin with dark spots.  Be sure to wear sunscreen on your hand every day of the year.

Legs:  Women’s legs are a common area for melanoma.  Be sure to wear sunscreen if legs aren’t covered with clothing.

Feet:  Sandals expose skin to the sun causing sunburned feet.  Be sure to reapply sunscreen to your feet if you’re swimming.  Although it is not a common, the soles of the feet can get skin cancer.



American Cancer Society, Protect Your Skin From the Sun, Stacy Simon, May 11, 2015.

Gannett News, USA Today, May 3, 2015,“Sunny days ahead, so don’t forget to cover up”. 

 Author:  Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewers:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed OSU Extension; Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA.


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When it comes to fruits and vegetables, vary your colors, cooking methods, and consumption for optimal nutrition. fruits-veggies

If you are concerned about preventing or controlling many of the chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, consider visiting MyPlate.gov and consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables recommended for your age, gender, and activity level. For example – 2 cups fruits and 3.5 cups of vegetables for active male. For additional health benefits, consider the three C’s: color, cooking, and consumption.

Consuming a variety of colors can make a difference to your health. Red fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, contain lycopene which is a phytochemical, or plant chemical, that can lower the risk for certain cancers, especially prostate cancer. Anthocyanin, found in red raspberries and strawberries, and also in purple produce, such as blackberries, blueberries and eggplant, is a powerful antioxidant that can also lower the risk of cancers and heart disease. Orange fruits and vegetables, such as mangoes, squash, oranges, and carrots contain plant pigments called carotenoids which can also lower risk of certain cancers, heart disease, but also eye diseases. Dark green vegetables have phytochemicals such as lutein, which can protective of eye disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Yes, even fruits and vegetables devoid of color can be beneficial to health. Onions, garlic, and parsnips, have pigments called anthoxanthins which are thought to be helpful with blood pressure.

In addition to consuming a variety of colors, consider how you consume and prepare fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables are healthiest when consumed fresh. There are exceptions however. However, the lycopene in tomatoes is more available to your body if you consume cooked tomatoes or if you consume tomatoes with a little bit of oil (try adding a little olive oil to your tomato soup!). For many vegetables, prolonged boiling can be detrimental to many phytochemicals that are heat unstable. Consider steaming or microwaving with a small amount of water to retain nutrients. Dried fruits and vegetables can add fiber to the diet, but they lose the health promoting phytochemicals during the drying process.


Produce for Better Health Foundation, http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov

North Dakota State University Extension Service, http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food

Writer: Daniel Remley, Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

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The exact cause of cancer is unknown but we do know what makes it more likely to occur.  This blog message recommends that you choose and prepare healthy foods and be more active to cut the risk of cancer.What are some likely causes of cancer?

• Smoking                          • Sunlight
• Viruses                            • Chemicals
• Air Pollution                   • Radiation
What may help cancer grow and spread?

• Alcohol

• Being overweight
• Hormones
• Pollutants
 Cancer and Diet
Cancer experts believe that up to 20-40% of all cancers may be influenced by what we eat. This may be particularly true if several members of your family have suffered from cancer.

What may lower risk?

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Physical Activity
  • Weight Control
  • Soy, especially early in life
  • Plenty of fluids
  • Fat free or low fat dairy foods

What can YOU do to lower your risk?

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and Vegetables

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day.

It is easy to eat more during the summer.  Many local fruits and vegetables are available.  Make sure you fill at least
half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
Eat them as snacks and make sure you start your day with a fruit or
vegetable.  That helps you get a head
start on your fruit or vegetables.

Move more.  If you haven’t been physically active in awhile, be sure to check
with your doctor first.  Start slow &
add minutes to your walking or activity routine.  You won’t become a marathon runner overnight.  Find activities you enjoy such as walking,
biking or swimming.  Aim to be active for
60 minutes most days of the week.

Charred FoodsLimit your intake of blackened or
charred food. 
 Research shows that substances that develop on
foods that have been blackened or charred also increase cancer risk.  Enjoy the summer grilling season but do so in

Watch your fat intake, especially
saturated fat. 
Saturated fat comes from animals and
animal products.  If you have a high fat
intake you may be more prone to cancer and cardiovascular disease.  Season with herbs and spices and reduce the
amount of fat that you add to foods.

Drink more water.  Aim for 6-8 glasses of water each day.  Fill the glass with ice, water, and add a
sprig of mint or a lemon wedge and enjoy this refreshing drink.

Start your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.  Pick one or two tips that you can do and begin today.  As you make these habits part of your routine, add another healthy lifestyle tip.  In a few months you will feel better and will have developed some healthy lifestyle habits that are part of daily life.

Begin your journey towards health today!

Sources:  The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, The American Cancer Society, The Georgia Department of Human
Resources and The Cancer Information Service.

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