Each of us has within ourselves the ability to fight cancer by harnessing the power of two potent anti-cancer weapons: prevention and early detection through cancer screenings. Research has shown that the risk of developing many types of cancer can be significantly reduced by making healthy lifestyle changes that include eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding risky behaviors such as smoking and alcohol use, as well as following vaccination recommendations. Regular cancer screenings can detect cancers in their earlier stages, when treatment is more likely to be successful.
The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about one third of all cancers diagnosed in the U.S. are related to lifestyle factors that include poor nutrition, physical inactivity, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and being overweight. You can reduce your risk of cancer and help prevent it in the first place by eating a balanced diet with an emphasis on plant-based foods, being physically active, avoiding tobacco products, limiting alcohol use, and maintaining a healthy weight. Healthy lifestyles have also been shown to improve the survival rates of people already diagnosed with some cancers, such as colorectal, breast, and some gynecological cancers.
Many of the most common cancers today, such as cancers of the skin, colon, cervix, and breast, can be detected in their earlier, more curable stages through the use of screening tests. For some men, after a discussion about their risk for prostate cancer with their health care provider, prostate cancer screening may be the right decision. Annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) has been shown to reduce lung cancer deaths in individuals at high risk for lung cancer by 20%, as opposed to chest x-ray screening.
Cancer prevention also includes immunizations that provide protection from certain viral infections. Since its approval in the U.S. ten years ago, the HPV vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective against the human papilloma virus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted disease. Persistent infection by high risk HPV strains is the cause of cervical, anal and other genital cancers, as well as an increased number of head and neck cancers.
NewYork-Presbyterian is committed to combatting cancer through prevention and early detection. The Hospital’s Cancer Prevention Program combines the expertise of two premier academic medical institutions, the National Cancer Institute-designated Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center and the Ronald P. Stanton Clinical Cancer Program and the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. The program provides a full range of cancer screening, education and prevention services at its comprehensive Cancer Centers located in the New York metropolitan area and at its Westchester and Hudson Valley Hospitals: NYP Lawrence in Bronxville and NYP Hudson Valley in Cortlandt Manor. These services include:
- Mammography and other imaging tests to screen for breast cancer
- Multiple options for colorectal cancer screening, including colonoscopy, virtual CT colonography and stool testing
- Prostate cancer awareness and education, with discussion about whether to be tested
- Skin exams to detect melanoma and other skin cancers
- Low-dose CT scanning for lung cancer screening
- Cervical cancer screening
- Genetic counseling and testing
- HPV (human papillomavirus) testing and vaccination
Cancer prevention and screening services are available at all NewYork-Presbyterian comprehensive cancer centers. To find the location most convenient for you, please visit nyp.org/cancerlocations.
NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the largest and most comprehensive hospitals in the nation, ranked New York’s No. 1 hospital for the 16th consecutive year, and No. 6 in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report. Affiliated with two academic medical colleges – Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, NewYork-Presbyterian brings together internationally recognized researchers and clinicians to develop and implement the latest approaches for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center is one of only three NCI designated comprehensive cancer centers in New York State. NewYork-Presbyterian provides comprehensive cancer care at all of our locations across the New York Metro area including Westchester County and the Hudson Valley. Learn more at nyp.org/cancer.