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Some cancers can be prevented and the risk can be lowered

Feb. 4 was Cancer Prevention Day and the Community Cancer Prevention in Action Program (CPiA) has great news to share — some cancers can be prevented and the risk for getting cancer can be lowered.

The CPiA is working in your community to increase the adoption of sun safety policies and practices in community settings; increase the adoption of worksite policies that establish paid time off benefits for employees to obtain cancer screenings; and provide education in the community to build support for the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine for cancer prevention.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in New York state, yet most cases could be prevented. CPiA works with employers, daycares, schools, and other community organizations to educate them about policies they can adopt to reduce their staff, clients’, students’ and visitors’ exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the main cause of skin cancer. Policies are designed to discourage indoor tanning and encourage using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and seeking shade when outdoors.

Cervical and colon cancers can be prevented through regular screening. Screening can also find breast, cervical and colon cancers early when they are easiest to treat. CPiA helps employers develop a paid time off for cancer screening benefit to allow employees time off for these important screenings without having to use accrued leave or sick time. Studies have shown paid time off policies are cost effective for the employer and helps to remove a common barrier to get important preventive care — the inability to take time off from work.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine prevents cancer. HPV accounts for nearly all cervical cancers and is linked to six other cancer types. The vaccine is recommended starting in adolescence through young adulthood, but unfortunately nearly half of adolescents in New York state are not getting the vaccine as recommended. CPiA provides education about the importance of the HPV vaccine as cancer prevention to health care providers, dental professionals, parents, and young adults.

To learn more about the CPiA Program, which is supported with funds from the state of New York, please visit takeactionagainstcancer.com.

KELSEY CARPE

Health education promotions coordinator

Community Cancer Prevention in Action of Fulton, Montgomery and Schenectady counties

Amsterdam