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Department of Health Encourages Residents to Take Steps to Prevent Cancer, Detect it Early
HARRISBURG, Pa. – As cancer continues to be the second leading cause of death in Pennsylvania, the Department of Health recently encouraged residents to be active in their health and take steps to decrease their risk of cancer.
“There are more than 100 different types of cancer that can impact individuals of all ages across the state,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We predict that more than 79,000 Pennsylvanians will be newly diagnosed with an invasive cancer, and more than 28,000 people will die from this disease in 2019. This is why is it is so important that we continue to work on a comprehensive cancer control plan to decrease the number of cancer cases and eliminate the burden of cancer for all residents.”
To decrease the chances of developing cancer, it is recommended that everyone get regular screens and check-ups, stay up-to-date on all vaccines, and continuously make healthy choices.
Regular screens are essential to detecting cancer early. Screens check the body for signs of cancer before symptoms show up. Screening tests can detect certain types of cancers early, such as breast, cervical and colorectal, where treatment is likely to work best. All residents should talk with their doctor about when and how often they should be screened. Men should talk to their doctor about maintaining good prostate health and whether screening is necessary. Depending on personal health history, family health history, or screening results, a doctor may recommend a different screening schedule.
Being up-to-date on vaccines is another step all residents can take to keep themselves healthy. Some vaccines protect against specific types of cancer. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects against the HPV types that most often cause cervical, vaginal, vulvar and anal cancers. This vaccine is recommended for both males and females 9 to 26 years old.
Making healthy choices every day not only improves an individual’s overall quality of life, but also decreases the chances of developing cancer. Adopting healthier habits like not using tobacco, improving nutrition, keeping a healthy weight, increasing physical activity and avoiding excessive sun exposure can significantly reduce a person’s risk for cancer.
The Department of Health continuously strives to provide a comprehensive overview of cancer in the state. The department is currently working on a statewide plan for reducing cancer and already has a number of resources for the public to view cancer data. The Cancer Statistics Dashboard is an interactive tool for exploring different aspects of cancer among Pennsylvanians. The dashboard begins with a high-level overview of cancer statistics and allows readers to view the details by primary site, age, race, sex, county and other factors. In addition to the dashboard, the department’s Burden of Cancer in Pennsylvania report is available on the website and outlines cancer data and statistics among residents across the state.
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