This year, an estimated half million Americans will lose their lives to cancer, and three times that many will be diagnosed with this devastating illness. Cancer patients are parents and grandparents, children and cherished friends; the disease touches almost all of us and casts a shadow over families and communities across our Nation. Yet, today, we stand at a critical moment in cancer research that promises significant advances for patients and an accelerated pace of lifesaving discoveries. During National Cancer Control Month this April, we remember those we have lost, support Americans fighting this disease, and recommit to progress toward effective cancer control.

Prevention and screening are our best defenses against cancer. All Americans can reduce their risk by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, limiting sun exposure, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, living tobacco-free, and taking advantage of appropriate regularly scheduled cancer screenings.

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that a physician’s recommendation is the most powerful factor in your decision to receive preventive and screening services. By discussing cancer screenings and other available cancer prevention options with your physician, and educating yourself in your decision-making regarding your choices, you can help prevent, treat, and beat the disease. Encourage yourself and family members to get screened—it could save your life and their lives.

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