WASHINGTON, DC – February is National Cancer Prevention Month, dedicated to raising cancer awareness and lowering cancer risk. Less than half of Americans are aware that drinking alcohol, eating diets high in red meat and low in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fiber and not getting enough physical activity all have a clear link to cancer development, according to the most recent National Cancer Risk and Awareness Survey.
AICR has launched the Healthy10 Challenge at www.healthy10challenge.org and is asking Americans to “Take the Ten!” to adopt healthier habits to reduce risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. This new online tool will help Americans put AICR’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations into action. The 10-week program is free and designed to improve diet, nutrition, physical activity and weight for reducing cancer risk and improving overall health.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to prioritize our health and the same healthy lifestyle habits that reduce cancer risk can also help prevent infections and reduce chronic diseases,” says Sheena Swanner, Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. “We urge people to “Take the Ten” to improve their diet and develop healthy lifestyle habits that can reduce cancer risk.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 70 percent of Americans aged 20 and older have overweight or obesity. Overweight and obesity increase the risk of 12 types of cancer and the CDC notes that adults who have excess weight are also at greater risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms during the pandemic.
“Maintaining a healthy weight is the most important way to reduce your cancer risk, other than not smoking,” says Dr. Nigel Brockton, AICR’s Vice President of Research. “Unfortunately, there is a major lack of awareness around the link between obesity and cancer and other health issues. Our hope is that the “Take the Ten” campaign will help highlight these common and important cancer risk factors and help people take actionable steps towards a healthier life.”
Several studies have concluded that consumption of alcoholic drinks increases the risk of six types of cancer, but there is a severe lack of awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer risk. A new study published in Cancer Epidemiology shows that from 2013-2016, alcohol consumption accounted for 4.8% of cancer cases and 3.2% of cancer deaths annually. Nielson reports that in March 2020 when COVID-19 began causing shutdowns across the United States, national sales of alcohol increased by 54%.
“If you can’t eliminate alcohol altogether, try to at least limit your intake while experimenting with different flavor combinations,” says Swanner. “Use fresh herbs such as rosemary or lavender and pair them with fresh fruits. In fact, week nine of the Healthy10 Challenge specifically focuses on how to make a drink festive and fun without adding alcohol.”
To learn more about the Healthy10 Challenge, visit www.healthy10challenge.org.
About the American Institute for Cancer Research
Our vision: We want to live in a world where no one develops a preventable cancer.
Our mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.
We have contributed over $109 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospital and research centers across the Americas. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations, at aicr.org.