February is National Cancer Prevention Month.
As the National Foundation for Cancer Research, we want to share in the important message of cancer prevention. Cancer risk can be decreased with simple healthy lifestyle changes and early detection testing.
But do you really need another article reminding you to stop smoking or to wear sunscreen? Do you need another article to emphasize the importance of exercise and healthy eating? Do you need us to tell you to get your annual checkup?
We write several articles a month focused on prevention. We explain exactly why certain lifestyle choices increase the risk of cancer. We dig so deep into the science, that we often discuss how the mechanisms within the cell are impacted.
Yet despite the entire nation coming together this month to raise awareness about cancer prevention, many of us still don’t exercise. We don’t choose healthy foods. We don’t wear sunscreen. Some of us even smoke and drink excessively. – All while fully knowing the cancer risks.
Why, despite an onslaught of cancer preventions messages in mass media, do we still choose to engage in lifestyle behaviors that we know directly increase our risk for cancer? Why do we continue to skip our annual checkups?
It comes down to how much we value ourselves.
When we bring a beloved new puppy into our home, we want to give it the best care possible. We feed it the best food we can find, make sure it has plenty of physical activity, and take it to the vet for regular checkups. We love and value our puppy, so we care for our puppy.
So often in life, we let everything else come first: work, bills, family… We get stuck on the treadmill of achievement, always chasing the allusive carrot. Worst of all, we sometimes cut ourselves down for falling short of perfection.
We deserve more.
We deserve to value and love ourselves just as much, if not more, then our new puppy. We deserve to give ourselves the best nutrition, make time for movement and exercise, and go for our annual checkups.
Cancer prevention isn’t just about litany of how-to’s and don’t-do’s. It’s about loving ourselves enough to believe that we deserve the best self-care possible, and then showing that love.
Please take a moment to share this important message with your friends.