Cancer PreventionWorks: August 2020

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Issue: August 2020

Time to get your cancer screenings




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Prevent Cancer Foundation highlights ®


Resources for those impacted by COVID-19




Stay Skin Healthy



Lung cancer screening can pave the way for COVID-19 recovery


Fake news: COVID-19 and cancer

Time to get screenings Back on the Books The back-to-school check-up you don’t want to miss



5k 2020 is going virtual!



Blanca’s story



Dear Readers, As we embark on the second half of 2020, we remain hopeful that we can make the world a safer, healthier place. On December 3, 2020, the Prevent Cancer Foundation will celebrate 35 years of saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection. When the Foundation was created, we were the only organization solely focused on cancer prevention, rather than the search for treatments and cures. We still are! But I am excited to say that after three and a half decades fighting for change, attitudes have shifted and prevention is getting its due. Through research, education, outreach and advocacy we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis. As we reflect on the change and progress we have driven over the years, we look to the future to make an even bigger impact. As a Foundation, we have come together to envision new, bold goals to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035, the Foundation’s 50th anniversary. Specifically, we are committed to investing:


For the first time in in its 20+ year history, the Prevent Cancer Dialogue (formerly Dialogue for Action®) went virtual! In light of social distancing guidelines, the Foundation moved this year’s Dialogue online to continue our signature conference. This shift enabled us to reach new audiences and triple attendance records for the event. Participants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia tuned in for these informative sessions: • Cervical Cancer and HPV • Innovative Technologies to Expand Cancer Screening • Challenges and Opportunities for Cancer Prevention and Screening in Indian Country

• $20 million toward research in innovative early detection technologies including universal (multi-site) cancer screening • $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access in underserved communities • $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options As we celebrate 35 years and imagine the change we can create in the next 15 years, we will continue to pursue this lifesaving work— because together, we have the power to Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®

Carolyn Aldigé Founder and CEO

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Visit to watch the recorded sessions.


#STAYSKINHEALTHY Listen up: your skin may be healthy now, but if you don’t protect it, your health will be in trouble down the road. If you… Cover your tattoos in sunscreen to protect them from fading, but ignore the rest of your skin Slather your kids in sunscreen before they head outside, but don’t stop to cover your own skin Think your melanin is a natural protectant, so you don’t need sunscreen …then it’s time for you to learn how to Stay Skin Healthy. Here’s how to start: Wear broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen daily, even if it’s cloudy. Five or more sunburns doubles your risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer. Do not use tanning beds—they provide no benefits and a base tan will not protect you against sunburns. Damage from UV light occurs over time, so you need to protect your skin now. Know your skin and visit a health care provider for skin checks annually, or whenever you notice any changes. That’s just a start. Visit for more tips, facts and vital information to prevent skin cancer. Follow our Skinfluencers on social media!

Tim Howard @timhow1

Kelly Larkin @kellyinthecity

Ewa & Jeromy Ko @nom_life

Elyse Love, M.D. @elyselovemd

Ebony Jamison @brownskinbeautiful_

Meghan Donovan @meghandono

Follow @preventcancer on Instagram to keep up with how to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Dr. Patty Lucey, a board-certified dermatologist, will answer your questions about skin cancer in live Q&As. Skin care starts with sunscreen. Start including it in your daily routine so it becomes a habit. Share how you protect your skin from the sun using #StaySkinHealthy on Instagram. 3

RESOURCES FOR THOSE IMPACTED BY COVID-19 Due to COVID-19, many businesses have experienced financial strain, forcing them to limit operations, furlough or lay off staff or even close completely. If you’re one of the majority of Americans who has been receiving health insurance through your employer, it can be daunting to figure out what to do next. Fortunately, there are options. New coronavirus resources are available through for those seeking new or alternative health insurance coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The site is a single source of information on purchasing an insurance plan on the marketplace, continuing prior employer-sponsored coverage through COBRA, or getting help with premiums if you’ve lost your employer-sponsored coverage or have had a significant change in income. Remember, losing your job is a qualifying life event, so you can enroll in your spouse’s employersponsored plan or purchase a plan on the marketplace even if it’s not an open enrollment period. There are also many organizations that have financial resources available to assist with care, including mental health appointments and access to certain medications. Testing for COVID-19 is completely covered, regardless of insurance status, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was passed by Congress in March.

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LUNG CANCER SCREENING CAN PAVE THE WAY FOR COVID-19 RECOVERY By David Yankelevitz, M.D. Dr. David Yankelevitz is a Professor of Radiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. COVID-19, a disease which primarily affects the respiratory system, has become a global pandemic. While some people experience only mild symptoms (or no symptoms at all), for others, infection is devastating and leads to serious illness or death. When we look at other respiratory illnesses, like lung cancer, it’s clear that CT imaging is an integral tool for early diagnoses and treatment monitoring—but how can we use this tool to diagnose or treat COVID-19 and save lives? Computerized assessments of CT scans—more accurate and less time-consuming than radiologist evaluation— have become the gold standard for lung cancer, emphysema, COPD and more. Early experience using this type of advanced image processing for patients with COVID-19 seems promising. But to validate and implement the necessary software tools, we’ll need large databases of lung images for patients with documented cases of COVID-19. That’s why we are so grateful to the Prevent Cancer Foundation® for providing a $40,000 startup grant to the Early Lung Cancer Action Project (ELCAP) program at Mount Sinai. Dr. Claudia Henschke and I are leading the effort to develop a database of COVID-19 CT images. Our goal is to create a common, openly accessible database with images from around the world that will allow software developers to test solutions for diagnosing and treating COVID-19. The database will be rapidly available so that we can immediately make a unique contribution to the global problem of COVID-19.


FAKE NEWS: COVID-19 AND CANCER The news has been especially troubling lately. We feel it, too. While some say ignorance is bliss, it’s worth getting the facts right when it comes to your health. Let’s set the record straight on the rumors and misleading headlines you may have seen.

UV LIGHT PREVENTS OR TREATS COVID-19 Though there’s no evidence that UV radiation can protect you from COVID-19, it can pose a serious risk to your health. Whether through exposure to the sun or through a tanning bed, exposure to UV radiation significantly increases your risk for skin cancer. Wearing protective clothing (sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved clothing), using sunscreens and lip balms (with UVA/UVB protection and at least 30 SPF) and seeking shade when outside can protect you from the sun’s powerful UV rays. When using sunscreen, make sure you reapply every 2 hours.

5G CAUSES CANCER AND COVID-19 There have been rumors circulating the internet claiming that 5G technology (housed in cell towers that deliver high speed internet) is dangerous and responsible for diseases and health problems. Last year, a foreign media outlet published an article linking 5G to cancer. The featured hashtag in the piece appeared to be popular on Twitter, but further investigation revealed the tweets mostly came from bots. In January, conspiracy websites began posting about a link between 5G and COVID-19, suggesting there could be a connection, and the rumors snowballed from there. Three months later, cellphone towers in Europe began going up in flames. There is no scientific or medical connection between 5G technology and COVID-19 or cancer.

INJECTION OF DISINFECTANTS CAN TREAT OR PREVENT THE CORONAVIRUS In April, the country erupted with confusion over whether or not disinfectants could be used as a potential treatment for the coronavirus. While disinfectants have been successful in stopping the virus on surfaces, ingesting or injecting these chemicals into your body can be incredibly dangerous and is not recommended or endorsed by medical professionals.

TAKE A BREAK FROM THE NEWS In times of stress, it’s important to take care of yourself and prioritize your mental health. If the news is clouding your day or bringing you down, follow these tips to refocus and rise above. 1. Make it a mid-day affair. Avoid reading headlines or tuning into news stations first thing in the morning or right before bed. This will help from putting a downer on your day or keeping you up at night. 2. Limit your intake. Set a limit on the amount of time you plan to spend watching or reading the news. Find an amount of time you’re comfortable with and turn it off once you reach the limit. 3. Seek out good news. Big news stations tend to focus on the worst, but there are plenty of positive news sites dedicated to featuring feel-good stories. Check out, or Some Good News YouTube channel for the latest stories of positivity. 5

TIME TO GET SCREENINGS BACK ON THE BOOKS When the coronavirus pandemic reached the U.S., many lives were put on pause. But while you may be focusing on postponed vacations, rescheduled weddings or cancelled graduations, something even more important is being missed by thousands—routine cancer screenings. If you were scheduled in the first half of 2020 for a mammogram, Pap test, lung cancer screening, colonoscopy, PSA test, skin check or dentist appointment, your doctor or dentist likely cancelled your appointment. However, as restrictions lift, it’s critical you get those appointments Back on the Books. Early detection saves lives. Routine cancer screening detects cancer early (even if you have no signs or symptoms!) and increases the likelihood your treatment will be successful. If your doctor’s office is open, don’t wait for them to call you to reschedule. Give them a call today to get your appointment back on the books—and then get in the door for your routine cancer screening. Your health care providers are taking precautions to keep you and themselves as safe as possible. Talk to your provider’s office and ask what steps they are taking to limit exposure risk. Some precautions may include: • Implementing a call-in or virtual check-in process so you can check in from your car • Visual markers and limited seating in the waiting area so you can maintain physical distance from staff and other patients • Requirements that all staff and visitors wear masks • Hand sanitizer available throughout the office • Frequent and thorough cleaning of all spaces and high-touch areas 6 Cancer PreventionWorks: August 2020


22% said their doctor’s or dentist’s office was open, but they wanted to minimize their risk of exposure to COVID-19.2 22% of people who had routine medical appointments or screenings scheduled for the summer months planned to postpone or cancel the appointments.2

PREVENTIVE MEASURES AND GENERAL WELLNESS • Protective equipment on all health care providers and office staff who have contact with patients • Temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires for incoming patients • Separate entrances and exits to reduce contact with other patients entering or leaving the office • Requirement that patients test negative for the coronavirus 72 hours before a procedure, such as colonoscopy It’s ok to ask—your health care providers want you to feel safe and comfortable during your visit.


Not sure when to start certain routine cancer screenings? Check out the chart below for the cancer screenings you need at every age. Individuals from each age group should also be following the recommendations of the previous age group, meaning that the screenings you start in your 20s should continue as you age. In addition to the screenings listed below, visit your dentist every six months so that signs of oral cancer can be detected during your regular visit.

AGE 20s

WOMEN • Begin regular cervical cancer screening at age 21. Have a Pap test every 3 years. • If you haven’t been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated now. • All adults ages 18-79 should be screened for hepatitis C, a leading cause of liver cancer. • Have your health care provider examine your skin every year or visit a dermatologist.


• Screen for cervical cancer with a Pap test combined with an HPV test every 5 years, or a Pap test every 3 years. •Continue screenings started in your 20s.


• Get screened annually for breast cancer. • Begin colorectal cancer screening at age 45. Talk to your doctor about screening test options. •Continue screenings started in your 20s and 30s.

50s, 60s and 70s

• If you’re a heavy smoker or former smoker, ask your doctor about getting screened for lung cancer. •Continue screenings started in your 20s, 30s and 40s.

AGE 20s and 30s

40s 50s, 60s and 70s

MEN • Perform monthly testicular self-exams to know what is normal for you. • If you haven’t been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated now. • All adults ages 18-79 should be screened for hepatitis C, a leading cause of liver cancer. • Have your health care provider examine your skin every year or visit a dermatologist. • Begin colorectal cancer screening at age 45. Talk to your doctor about screening test options. •Continue screenings started in your 20s and 30s. • Talk to your doctor about screening for prostate cancer. • If you’re a heavy smoker or former smoker, ask your doctor about getting screened for lung cancer. •Continue screenings started in your 20s, 30s and 40s.

1 2 2020 Prevent Cancer Foundation survey 7



It’s especially important to make sure your kids’ medical appointments are continuing and they are staying on track for vaccinations to keep them safe from preventable (and dangerous!) diseases and illnesses. For boys and girls ages 11-12, this includes the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. This vaccine protects against a virus that can cause at least six types of cancer. If your kids are in the recommended age range (or are older but haven’t been vaccinated against HPV), it’s important to get them vaccinated to protect against HPV and—ultimately—prevent cancer. In the wake of the pandemic, 17% of parents missed a scheduled vaccination for one or more of their children. Vaccinations can’t wait—get them back on the books today.


Medical care in the U.S. can be expensive, especially without insurance coverage. If you’ve recently lost your health insurance, there are options available to make sure you and your family are covered. • Join your spouse’s insurance plan. If you lost coverage because you’ve recently lost your job, this is considered a qualifying life event and you can enroll in your spouse’s plan even if it’s not their open enrollment period. • Purchase a plan from the Affordable Care Act marketplace. If you’ve recently lost your employersponsored insurance plan, you’ll qualify for a special enrollment period to buy a plan on the marketplace. You may even qualify for a subsidy to help cover the cost of a plan. • Utilize COBRA. If you lose your job or your hours are reduced, you typically have the right to continue group health benefits for a limited period. Just be aware that you may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102% of the cost to the plan. If you are uninsured or underinsured, you can find more information on free and low-cost cancer screenings at

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THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL CHECK-UP YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS Amid COVID-19 quarantining and social distancing, countless children have missed routine check-ups, which has many doctors and public health officials concerned for the future. Vaccines can protect children from several diseases and viruses; one of them is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can cause cancer later in life. HPV can cause at least six types of cancer and is linked to almost all cases of cervical and anal cancers. The HPV vaccine can prevent HPV infection and protect the next generation. It is recommended for all children 11-12 years old and is delivered in two doses over a 6-12 month period (three doses for ages 15 and up). This is one of few vaccines that can ultimately prevent cancer. If your child missed a dose due to COVID-19 closures, take the time this summer to catch them up. In some states and territories (Rhode Island, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) the vaccine is required for children to attend school, but if it’s not required in your state, we urge you to make it part of your back-to-school checklist. If your child is within the recommended vaccination age but hasn’t been vaccinated yet, now is a good time to start. Make a check-up with your child’s doctor part of back-to-school planning and ask them about the HPV vaccine. Whether school is virtual or in-person this fall, it could be the most important thing you do this back-to-school season. 9

5K 2020 IS GOING VIRTUAL! The annual Prevent Cancer Health Fair and 5k Walk/Run is going virtual for 2020. This event is for everyone—individuals, families, friends, kids, seniors, pets. From casual walkers to serious marathoners, this event is for YOU. We may be running apart, but together we can empower one another and our communities to take care of our health and reduce our cancer risk through prevention, screening and early detection. We can’t wait to welcome you and your crew to our first-ever virtual 5k event. What can you expect from the virtual Health Fair and 5k? You can: • Encourage friends & family to join your team or donate to your fundraising page. As always, the funds raised through this event will support critical cancer prevention and early detection programs! • Get up and get active by running or walking a 5k (or any other distance!) in your own neighborhood. • Rock your new Prevent Cancer Foundation t-shirt and race bib when you run or walk. • Enjoy learning from our Health Fair partners through exclusive virtual offerings.

Registration is now open at!

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AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF NORMAL TEST RESULTS, BLANCA KEPT COMING BACK FOR HER ANNUAL BREAST CANCER SCREENING. She had no signs or symptoms of disease, but through one of the Prevent Cancer Foundation programs she learned how important routine screenings are—and that knowledge may have saved her life. For more than 25 years, our hugely successful ¡Celebremos la Vida! (Let’s Celebrate Life!) program has partnered with community health care providers to offer breast and cervical cancer screenings with culturally appropriate education to medically underserved Hispanic women. When Blanca’s test came back positive for breast cancer in 2014, the Celebremos patient navigators were there to help her every step of the way. Her path to recovery wasn’t easy, but today she is living cancer-free and is so grateful to spend more time with her family and watch her grandson grow up. The Prevent Cancer Foundation is committed to saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection.

You can make a difference. With your support, we can be there for women like Blanca.

DONATE TODAY. Give online at or pay by check using the enclosed envelope. 11

Find this issue and more at

TO SUBSCRIBE, CONTACT: Prevent Cancer Foundation® 1600 Duke Street, Suite 500, Alexandria, VA 22314 Toll-Free: (800) 227-2732 Main: (703) 836-4412 Email: Visit: Cancer PreventionWorks is published by the Prevent Cancer Foundation®, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and early detection of cancer. All contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is a member of the Combined Federal Campaign (#11074).

1600 Duke Street, Suite 500 Alexandria, VA 22314

UPCOMING VIRTUAL EVENTS September 9: Prevent Cancer Advocacy Workshop September 10: Annual Gala


Stay Skin Healthy

Fake News and COVID-19

Get your cancer screenings Back on the Books

Prevent Cancer Health Fair and 5K Walk/Run is going virtual!

November 1- 8: Prevent Cancer Health Fair and 5k Walk/Run For more information visit

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