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Did You Know That 50% Of Deaths Due To Cancer, Can be Prevented?

Cancer can afflict anyone, even the health conscious, but dying from cancer can certainly be avoided, according to a new study//. To make this happen, it would obviously warrant lifestyle changes; to name a few, -giving up smoking, adopting nutritious food habits, regular exercise, and screenings as per advise from medical specialists. This study has been enabled by the American Cancer Society.

Vilma Cokkinides, co-author of the report and program director of risk-factor surveillance for the American Cancer Society in Atlanta said “What's astonishing is how small the numbers are in terms of the population actually doing these things. It's a disconnect; the awareness that theoretically half (of cancer deaths) could be prevented hasn't gotten in the mindset."

The study outlines that smoking carries the highest risk of cancer and about a third of cancer deaths in 2006 will be due to unhealthy diets, obesity, and lack of exercise. Obesity also has dubious links with postmenopausal breast cancer and colon cancer. The silver lining, of course is that, there has been a positive trend in the obesity rates of women.

Women are getting increasingly aware of breast cancer and its implications, so the number of women undergoing screening tests has shown a steady increase. Of course this is by no means adequate, depicting that further improvement is necessary.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel, director of the Department of Clinical Cancer Genetics at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer center, patients who have a hereditary link with cancer, can opt to undergo the cancer risk counseling, which will give them an idea if further screening is required. "Genetics isn't necessarily destiny," Weitzel said. "Advanced protocols... are designed to take what we know about breast cancer and epidemiology and turn it around in a way that might allow prevention."

To quote his advice, "if there's cancer under the age of 50, breast or colon, that might warrant referral in cancer-risk counseling. That would be the starting point."

Breast cancer cases have shown remarkable improvement not only during recovery but also in terms of treatment comfort, when detected early. Weitzel has advised people who wish to learn more about guidelines for screening to access the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's Web site at www.nccn.org or the City of Hope at www.cityofhope.org/ccgp.


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