Cancer Care. An In Great Health eNewsletter.

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Thank you for subscribing to Cancer Care, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with useful information about cancer care and prevention. To learn more about our services and community events, or to find a physician, visit

To your health,

The Avera staff

Smoking Cessation Helps Prevent Cancer

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health since it affects almost every part of the body. But that's especially true for cancer survivors and people who are undergoing cancer treatment.

Quitting smoking is an important step toward lowering the risk for cancer. Smoking can cause lung cancer , as you probably know, but it also has been shown to increase risk for other cancers, such as cancer of the kidneys, pancreas, cervix, throat and more. If you're already a cancer survivor, you're at higher risk for developing other types of cancer. 

Besides helping with cancer prevention, smoking cessation reduces your risk for heart attack, stroke and chronic lung disease. Nonsmokers have been shown to live longer than smokers-more than a decade, on average! Even if you've been a long-time smoker, your health will benefit no matter when you quit. In fact, just 12 hours after quitting, a smoker's carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal.

Avera's online Health Information offers  tips on how to quit smoking. For more assistance with smoking cessation, call a quit line that is sponsored or supported by your state's Department of Health:

  • Iowa: (800) QUIT NOW (800-784-8669)
  • Minnesota: (888) 354-PLAN (866-354-7526)
  • Nebraska: (800) 784-8669
  • North Dakota: (800) QUIT NOW (800-784-8669)
  • South Dakota: (866) SD QUITS (866-737-8487)

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Cancer Survivors at Higher Risk for Sun Damage

If you've been diagnosed with skin cancer, you are more susceptible to damage from sun exposure. Be sure to protect your skin and eyes from the sun, especially during the summer when ultraviolet B rays (the most common cause of sunburn) are most intense.

All people can be affected by the sun's rays, but cancer survivors in particular are at risk if they:

  • Are skin cancer survivors
  • Have family history of skin cancer
  • Are receiving radiation treatments
  • Have compromised immune systems due to medical conditions or medication

Here are some quick tips to protect yourself in the sun:

Limit sun exposure. If possible, avoid being outdoors from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun's rays are the strongest.

Wear protective clothing. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats and sunglasses are best when used in conjunction with sunscreen.

Apply sunscreen generously and often. Use a sunscreen of at least 35 sun protection factor (SPF), and apply it before exposing skin to the sun. Reapply every two hours. Don't forget your face, ears, arms and hands! About an ounce of sunscreen should be enough coverage for an adult.

Cloudy days increase risk, too. You can have sun damage even when the sky is overcast. UV rays still get through the clouds, and water can reflect the sunlight like a mirror and increase your exposure to damaging UV rays.

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In Great Health online archive.

Cancer Care is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.