LESSON 4: Risk and Prevention

Time Required: One 40-minute class period

Materials: Risk and Prevention Worksheet 4


1. Ask students how they weigh risk in their daily lives. Discuss the small risks that one takes every day, such as riding in a car, crossing a street, or walking down a set of stairs. Ask what measures they take in their daily lives to protect themselves. For example, while riding in a car they wear their seat belts; while crossing a street they look both ways; while walking down stairs they might or might not use a handrail. Clearly there are times when taking precautions makes sense.

2. Tell students that there are things they can do to reduce their risk of getting cancer. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer, certain factors have been proven to contribute to high rates of cancer. For example, lung cancer is the second leading type of cancer in the United States, and it is well known that smoking tobacco contributes to this. Lung cancer rates have risen astronomically since Americans started smoking heavily in the 1940s. This strong connection between two sets of data is sometimes called a correlation. When the connection is very clear, it is more commonly called cause and effect.

3. Other behaviors have been linked to cancer, such as prolonged sun tanning. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, and sunlight exposure is by far the most significant risk factor for this cancer. To reduce one’s risk, it is best to avoid sun exposure, especially during peak hours of the day.

4. Explain to students that keeping themselves safe means more than just avoiding certain things. There are positive things they can do as well. These behaviors include eating healthy, nutritious food; exercising regularly; and maintaining a healthy weight. These have all been linked to reduced risk of cancer. Also, as they get older, having regular checkups with a doctor can help keep them safe.

5. Distribute Worksheet 4. Tell students that the matching activity is like a cause and effect chart, but instead it lists behaviors and effects. Stress that daily behaviors and habits can have long-term effects. In Part 2, they will write a simple plan for shaping their behaviors and habits


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