Cancer Prevention

Cancer Prevention

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Idaho and nearly one in two Idahoans are estimated to develop cancer during their lifetime. Southwest District Health partners with organizations around the region to decrease the risk and severity of cancer in Idaho.

Cancer prevention is taking actions to lower your risk of getting cancer. Some actions that you can take to prevent cancer include getting your recommended screenings (breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers), getting vaccinated for HPV and Hepatitis B (these vaccines prevented certain types of cancer), and making healthy lifestyle choices (i.e., exercising, eating healthy, not smoking).

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States Idaho ranks among the top states for skin cancer and skin cancer deaths. Protection is important for people of all ages, cultures, and skin types. Skin damage from the sun can happen fast! Without the proper protection, it can take less than 20 minutes for your skin to burn in a high UV index area. Also, studies show that even just a few sunburns paired with recreational tanning can significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

Be AWARE of these Sun Safety Tips: 

Apply – Broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen 

Wear – UV-protection clothing 

Avoid – Direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm 

Re-apply – Broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen 

Enjoy – The outdoors, with these tips 

Southwest District Health works with community partners to implement sun safety measures throughout our region. This can include recreational facilities, tourism sites, restaurant patios, zoos, water parks, daycares, and more! Contact us if you’d like to implement sun safety prevention measures near you.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are 50 or older, getting a colorectal cancer screening test could save your life.

Southwest District Health strives to reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer by increasing awareness of the disease in the community and increasing rates of effective screening methods.

Screening Guidelines

It is recommended that individuals age 50 (earlier if you have a family history), both men and women should be screened.

HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections are very common. More than 42 million Americans are currently infected with different types of HPV that can cause disease. About 13 million Americans, including teens, become infected by a strain of HPV every year. HPV is spread through sexual skin-to-skin contact. You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus, even if they don’t have signs or symptoms. Most HPV infections (9 out of 10) go away by themselves within 2 years. However, significant HPV infections can last longer than two years.

HPV Infections Can Cause Cancer in the Following Areas:

Cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, back of the throat, base of tongue, and tonsils

By getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself and your teens early, before ever encountering the HPV virus.

  • Ages 11-15: The CDC recommends that children ages 11-12 years old should get two doses of HPV vaccine, given 6 to 12 months apart. It is recommended to receive the HPV vaccine earlier rather than later to protect your child long before they ever encounter the virus.
  • Ages 15-26: Teens and young adults should be vaccinated too. Anyone between the ages of 15-26 years is recommended by the CDC to get three doses of the HPV vaccine.
  • Ages 27-45: HPV vaccine is not recommended for everyone older than 26. However, some adults ages 27-45 who were not already vaccinated can choose to get the HPV vaccine after talking to their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and vaccination benefits.

Reach out to a health care provider today to see if the HPV vaccine is recommended for you or your child.

If you have questions about the HPV vaccine, the HPV vaccine’s safety and efficacy, or are wondering what questions to ask your doctor about HPV vaccinations check out these links!

If you have any questions or would like to work with Southwest District Health to prevent cancer, contact:

Halle McDermott | 208-296-0758 |


Idaho Comprehensive Cancer Control Program:
Download(PDF): Idaho Comprehensive Cancer Control Program

American Cancer Society:

National Cancer Institute:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Colon Cancer Alliance:


If you have any questions or would like to work with Southwest District Health to prevent cancer, contact: 

Visit us at to find free community health resources that will support your organization, your family, or your coalition!