Promoting Cancer Prevention Year-Round
February is almost over. With it wraps up efforts nationwide to promote National Cancer Prevention Month – a month designated to share a message the New Mexico Department of Health shares all year long.
In recent years, the leading types of new cancer cases among men in New Mexico have been prostate, lung, and colorectal. For women, the leading types of new cancer cases have been breast, lung and colorectal, and it’s lung cancer, overall, that is the leading cancer killer for both men and women in the state.
The rates of new cancer cases can be reduced, and many cancer deaths can be prevented. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites research showing that screening for cervical and colorectal cancers helps prevent these diseases by finding precancerous lesions so they can be treated before they become cancerous. Screenings for cervical, colorectal, and breast cancers also helps find these diseases at an early, often highly treatable stage.
That’s why the Department of Health maintains a Comprehensive Cancer Control section offering cancer information and resources to both New Mexico’s residents and health care providers.
A statewide network of health care providers offers Breast and Cervical Cancer screening and diagnostic services at no cost for eligible low income women ages 30 and older. In addition, limited Colorectal Cancer screening, surveillance, and diagnostic services are available at no cost for eligible average-risk men and women, ages 50 and older. The Cancer Section's Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and Colorectal Cancer Program follow screening recommendations made by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
Anything that may increase the chance of getting cancer is a risk factor. Some risk factors like age, sex and heredity can’t be controlled. However, there are many things you can do to protect yourself from getting cancer in the first place. These include avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds, protecting yourself and your partners from sexually transmitted infections, and receiving appropriate clinical preventive services through your medical provider.
Other important resources for cancer prevention are the free Smoking Cessation services offered through the Department of Health's Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program. Tobacco users can access free counseling in a variety of languages and a free 8-week supply of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (patches, lozenges and gum) through the statewide toll free number 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or online at quitnownm.com.
Also available is the dedicated Spanish-language quit line 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569) and online services at dejeloyanm.com. There is also a new QUITNOW Smartphone App now available on iTunes and Google Play. The free app provides smartphone users with a downloadable tool that supports them throughout the quit process, helping them set a quit date, identify reasons for quitting and conquer cravings once they’ve quit.
To better understand your cancer risk, steps to reduce your risk, and tools to manage your risk, visit the Comprehensive Cancer Control section of our website. There you will learn more on:
- How cancer affects our community.
- Tips on how to lower your cancer risk.
- How to work with other groups and community leaders to make sure people have the information and services they need.
We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.