February is National Cancer Prevention Month (NCPM), a time to reflect on healthy habits and practices that can help lower the risk of cancer. It’s also a time to get involved and help raise awareness for cancer research and prevention. NCPM is recognized by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), which also started awareness events like National Cancer Research Month.

What Is National Cancer Prevention Month?

NCPM aims to raise awareness of ways people can lower their risk of cancer. Common cancer-prevention tips include taking basic precautions and working toward a healthier lifestyle.

Early estimates predict that nearly 2 million people in the United States received a cancer diagnosis in 2023, with more than 600,000 dying from the disease. Researchers attribute more than 40% of these cancer cases to potentially avoidable causes.

What Can You Do to Help Prevent Cancer?

Some of the most successful cancer risk reduction efforts have come through public health campaigns and policies. Learning about cancer risk factors helps everyone take action to reduce and mitigate those risks.

Many habits and practices that can help prevent different kinds of cancer may be things you already do. For example:

  • Avoid exposure to asbestos to prevent mesothelioma cancer.
  • Get vaccinated against known carcinogenic pathogens. For example, the HPV vaccine can help prevent a number of cancers, including cervical and vaginal cancer.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to help prevent cancers associated with obesity, like breast, colorectal and esophageal cancer.
  • Quit smoking, or never start, to help prevent lung cancer.
  • Wear sunscreen and other sun protection to help avoid skin cancer.

It’s also important to recognize that certain groups are at higher risk. These include racial and ethnic minorities, unhoused populations and other people who are medically underserved. This underscores the importance of effective public policies for everyone.

While there isn’t a 100% guaranteed way to prevent cancer, we can all take steps to help lower our chances of developing this disease. We can also work to educate others to help lower risks among our loved ones and within the wider community.

How Can You Get Involved?

There are several ways you can help boost cancer prevention awareness this February. Options include supporting the AACR directly through donations and volunteering. You can also organize your own fundraising events, post helpful info on social media, and make your own commitment to cancer prevention habits.

Get involved today by:

You can visit the AACR’s website for even more opportunities to be a part of NCPM. By supporting and joining the efforts of researchers, scientists, cancer specialists, doctors, advocates and partners, we can all work to advance cancer prevention.

People interested in mesothelioma prevention can learn more about the causes and risk factors for the disease. They can also learn about how asbestos exposure occurs in order to avoid situations where it could happen. Advocates can also contact legislators and policymakers to push for an asbestos ban to help keep people safe from the dangerous mineral.