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Empowering Nonprofits: Educating on Cancer Causes and Prevention

Empowering Nonprofits: Educating on Cancer Causes and Prevention

Cancer is a devastating diagnosis that impacts people of every age, gender, and ethnicity. However, many people are not aware that early detection and basic preventative measures can help reduce their risk. 

Community-based nonprofit organizations can help solve this challenge by providing education on cancer causes, risk factors, and prevention. Once you understand the science, your organization can help bring awareness with resources, events, and partnerships to educate people about this disease.

What Causes Cancer?

According to the Mayo Clinic, cancer is one of the top two causes of death globally. While scientists work to discover treatments that improve survival rates, new research shows that almost half of all cancer deaths are preventable. Published in August 2022, this peer-reviewed study revealed the top causes of cancer include:

Other cancer causes are harder to control. The Environmental Protection Agency warns about carcinogens in the environment. They include:

  • Air pollution, including diesel emissions, smog, wildfires, and wood stoves.
  • Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is linked to skin cancer.
  • Drinking water may be contaminated with carcinogens.
  • A newer carcinogenic concern, PFAS, is found in products, air, soil, and water. 

Finally, some cancers have a strong genetic predisposition. 

Cancer Prevention 101

In light of this information, how can a nonprofit organization help people prevent cancer?

Providing Tools for Early Detection

Early detection is critical for receiving life-saving treatment. Your organization can provide information on what types of early detection are linked to which cancers. For example, regular mammogram screenings can determine if a woman has breast cancer. 

Partner with local healthcare providers to organize a fundraiser that features educational events and patient-friendly resources, like on-site screenings or free exams. Providing this service to the community goes a long way to building trust while educating. You can use robust nonprofit fundraiser platforms to coordinate in-person events with virtual opportunities like digital payment processing, online auctions, and virtual support. 

People with family histories of cancer may want to know if they have a genetic mutation and how it affects them. Cells contain DNA sequences, which may have mutations linked to disease. Studies have shown that one in five subjects had a risk of either cancer or a rare disease. Create brochures about gene testing, panel testing, and genome sequencing to help people discover if they are at risk and move forward with their doctor.

Help People To Make Better Choices

Quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight are goals that people can work towards with their healthcare providers. Unfortunately, people may not have proper support to meet these goals, like access to providers or affordable healthy foods.

You can provide that support. For example, you can partner with a local dietician to host a cooking event that teaches healthy cooking and how to buy cost-effective whole foods. Create healthy eating guides, including information for certain conditions such as diabetes. 

You can also provide brochures that contain local healthcare providers, alcohol addiction resources, and how to apply for programs like WIC or food stamps.

Cancer-Causing Home Hazards

People are also susceptible to carcinogenic materials in their homes. Older homes may contain asbestos in insulation, flooring, roofing, or siding. This may not be a problem until you make major changes, such as remodeling. Asbestos is linked to lung disease and cancer. Other hazards that can cause serious illness in the home include radon, lead, carbon monoxide, and mold. 

Another growing concern today are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are commonly found in paint products. They also lurk in everyday items such as cleaning products, scented candles, or even cosmetics.

A short training event can allow your nonprofit to:

  • recommend safe options for these products
  • teach about warning signs of hazardous chemical exposure
  • instruct homeowners on how to remediate asbestos, radon, lead, and mold
  • provide info on carbon monoxide detectors
  • hand out sample bottles of sunscreen to reduce UV exposure

How Your Organization Can Educate Communities with Care and Compassion

Before embarking on these educational projects, be sure that your employees are uptrained. Uptraining is another word for employee development programs that train staff in important areas:

  • Preventing sexual harassment
  • Disability awareness
  • Diversity
  • Sensitivity
  • Cybersecurity

These skills help your team avoid sticky situations and be sensitive to the needs of others. It also makes it easier for them to engage with others so that you can invite partners from local schools, businesses, hospitals, and other community providers to be involved with your events.


You can also share this message with younger people. Nonprofit organizations can partner with high schools, including teachers, administrators, and students to foster educational programs that teach healthcare basics. These are not limited to educating students on healthy living and preventing cancer. You can also teach them how to talk about cancer, what to do when a loved one is diagnosed, and how to help people their age who are battling cancer.

Once you understand what causes cancer and ways to reduce risk, you can create programs, events, and resources to educate your community. Uptraining your team helps them share this information with care and compassion. By working these tools together, your nonprofit will become more reputable, helping more people in the long run.

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