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Ten Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Cancer Risk
Date:4/4/2008

SEATTLE, April 4, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Most people assume that cancer is genetic and cannot be avoided. However, according to the American Cancer Society, healthy behaviors could prevent approximately half of cancer deaths. Below is a list of 10 lifestyle changes, all based on the latest research, which people can make to improve their odds of preventing cancer or catching it at its earliest, most curable stages.

-- Don't smoke or use any other tobacco products. Tobacco increases the risk for many cancers including those of the lung, bronchus, head and neck, colon, and bladder. If you smoke, stop. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you've tried to quit before, don't give up -- eventually something will work. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your physician, your family and friends, your employer, and even your insurance company. There are so many benefits to reducing smoking that many companies and insurance companies provide free help for quitting smoking.

-- Get screened for cancer regularly. Several tests can find cancer at a very early stage, sometimes even before a growth has turned cancerous. Finding cancer early can greatly increase your chance for a cure and reduce your risk of dying from the disease. Currently available cancer screening includes:

* Colon: Starting at age 50, all people should have a colonoscopy (or even younger if at high risk). The frequency of colon screening depends on risk. A colonoscopy every 10 years is the norm for those with no personal or family history of colon cancer or high-risk polyps. Those at high risk may need more frequent testing. Acceptable alternatives for people who are not at high risk for colon cancer include flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT scanning and a test to check for hidden blood in the stool.

* Breast: Starting at age 40, all women should get an annual mammogram (or even younger if at high risk) and a breast exam performed by a clinician. Some women may be el
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SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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