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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

February Is National Cancer Prevention Month

Other+than+that%2C+here+is+my+caption%3A+The+Terrier+statue+decorated+for+breast+cancer+awareness+month+in+October+2017.+Photo+courtesy+of+Mark+Olencki
Other than that, here is my caption: The Terrier statue decorated for breast cancer awareness month in October 2017. Photo courtesy of Mark Olencki

A month for learning how to take action to reduce the risk of cancer

About 39.5% of people will be diagnosed with a form of cancer during their lifetime. While not all cancer is preventable, there are ways that individuals can take action and lower their risk. The upcoming National Cancer Prevention Month during February encourages individuals to educate themselves about cancer and the ways in which they can reduce their own risk of cancer.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) lists staying away from smoking and tobacco products as a way to reduce one’s risk of cancer because about 20% of all cancers are caused by smoking. 

In the spring of 2020, Wofford College became a tobacco-free campus, recognizing the health impacts that tobacco products can have on the Wofford community and to create a healthy and safe campus. 

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Another way to reduce one’s risk of cancer is by being safe while in the sun. While sunlight offers health benefits like vitamin D, too much exposure can increase the risk of cancer. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can damage skin and lead to skin cancer. While spending time in the sun, the ACS recommends wearing sunscreen, covering skin with clothing, wearing a hat and sunglasses and avoiding tanning beds and sunlamps. 

More than 18% of all cancer in the United States is related to an unhealthy lifestyle, therefore having a healthy lifestyle through staying active and eating healthy can reduce the risk of cancer. Eating a plant-based diet and limiting alcohol consumption as well as being physically active can reduce risk. 

Getting immunized can also reduce the risk of cancer because some viruses can lead to cancers. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, for example, can protect against six different types of cancers, therefore the ACS recommends children be vaccinated for this virus between the ages of 9 and 12. 

Furthermore, knowing one’s family history is important to staying healthy as 5-10% of all cancer is inherited. In addition, getting screened for cancer can help detect cancer early. 

Within the Wofford community, Zeta Tau Alpha sorority is finding ways to bring awareness to cancer prevention through their philanthropy of Breast Cancer Education and Awareness. 

As a sorority, they host events on campus to raise money for their philanthropy and to bring awareness to the Wofford community about their cause. The sorority also hosts an annual Think Pink week in October as part of national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

As part of National Cancer Prevention Awareness Month, Zeta Tau Alpha plans on partnering with a local breast cancer center during the month of February. 

Zeta Tau Alpha member and Philanthropy Director Riley DeLavan ‘23 says that for her sorority, their philanthropy “is a uniting factor that strikes a chord within all of us, and one that brings us together in an unspoken sort of way.”

“It is extremely imperative that we all recognize that 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer within her lifetime,” DeLevan said. ”That is why we strive so intently to bring recognition to our cause.” 

As 2021 begins and resolutions are made, consider making your health a priority and finding ways to take action and reduce your risk of cancer. Diane Farley, assistant professor of accounting and breast cancer survivor, knows the importance of taking action to prevent the risk of cancer. 

“Taking care of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually is important,” Farley said.“No one can completely eliminate their risk of cancer, but everyone has the power to make healthy choices”  

Farley also encourages people to listen to their bodies and to have anything checked out that they feel may be wrong. She noted that cancer treatments are more effective when used in the early stages.

“Start by making one healthy choice per day,” she said. “It could be related to diet, physical activity, meditation, or anything else that makes you feel like you’ve done something good for yourself.”

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