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Healthy Lifestyle Choices Could Cut Cancer Rates: Report
Date:4/19/2012

THURSDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Most people know what lifestyle choices will keep the chances of a cancer diagnosis low: Don't smoke, eat healthy, exercise and get the recommended screenings.

But, many Americans don't make those choices, and a new report suggests that lawmakers and private industry need to do more to help make those changes easier ones to make.

The report, released by the American Cancer Society Thursday, details the shortcomings that contribute to cancer deaths and notes that social, economic and legislative factors help shape health behaviors.

"With increased efforts toward more fostering of and support for cancer prevention and early detection activities, we can reduce incidence, death and suffering from cancer," report co-author Vilma Cokkinides said in a cancer society news release.

"The price and availability of healthy foods, incentives and opportunities for regular physical activity in schools and communities, advertising content, as well as the availability of insurance coverage for screening tests and treatment for tobacco addiction all influence individual choices. Improved collaboration among government agencies, private companies, nonprofit organizations, health care providers, policy makers and the American public can lead to continued improvements, and more favorable trends that reduce the risk of death from cancer and other chronic diseases," Cokkinides stated.

One expert agreed that the premise is sound.

"The [cancer society] report provides the public with valuable information about cancer risk and risk reduction. An informed public has the opportunity to make good decisions about lifestyle and modifiable risk factors, and other health behaviors," said Dr. Freya Schnabel, director of breast surgery at NYU Clinical Cancer Center in New York City. "The challenge for all of us is putting this information into use every day," she added.

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