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You May Be the Key to Cancer Prevention
Date:3/29/2008

land Journal of Medicine study that included more than 900,000 U.S. adults found that the heaviest people had the highest risk of death -- 52 percent higher for men and 62 percent for women -- compared to people of normal weight.

However, what isn't yet known, Hayes said, is if proper nutrition can prevent that increased risk. "We have an incomplete understanding of diet's impact on cancer. But a healthy lifestyle is associated with all kinds of good things," he said.

The ACS recommends eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least five days a week. Walking, biking and skating are examples of moderate activity, while jogging, fast bicycling, weight training, aerobics and swimming are considered vigorous activity.

Hayes said too much alcohol is also associated with some cancers, particularly tumors of the esophagus, pharynx, and mouth. The ACS recommends that women drink no more than one alcoholic beverage a day and men no more than two alcoholic drinks a day.

Then there's the lifesaving issue of screenings. Some cancer screenings, such as those for skin, breast, cervical and colon cancers, can actually detect precancerous changes that may eventually lead to malignancies.

For instance, with a colonoscopy a doctor can find and remove polyps before they turn into cancer. The ACS report estimated that as many as half of the 55,000 colon cancer deaths that occur each year could be prevented with proper screening.

"Aside from avoiding tobacco and maintaining a healthy body weight, cancer screening is the most important thing people can do to reduce their chances of dying from cancer," the ACS report stated.

More information

To learn more about cancer prevention, visit the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundatio
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