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Healthy Behaviors Can Prevent at Least 50 Percent of Cancer Deaths

is right to encourage Americans to participate in the Great American Health Challenge. When questioned about four of the behaviors promoted as part of the Great American Health Challenge, (not smoking, getting regular cancer screenings, and meeting Society guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity), 22 percent of respondents meet three of the four recommendations, fifty-nine percent meet two out of the four recommendations, and only four percent meet all four recommendations.

“We are encouraged that many Americans already are engaging in some of the key healthy behaviors that we know can make a difference,” said Dr. Wender. “There is still progress to be made in cancer prevention and early detection, and the Great American Health Challenge is one way the Society is working to help educate people about what they can do to reduce their risk of cancer.”

Screening can detect cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, cervix, prostate, oral cavity, and skin at early stages, when treatment is more likely to be successful. In addition, tests for cervical and colorectal cancer may detect changes in cells before they become cancerous. The five-year survival rate for cancers that can be prevented or detected earlier by screening is about 86 percent, a percentage which reflects real reductions in cancer deaths as well as earlier diagnosis because of screening.

It is estimated that in 2007 about 168,000 cancer deaths will be caused by tobacco, and scientific evidence suggests that about one-third of the cancer deaths that occur in the U.S. each year are due to nutrition and physical activity factors, including excess weight. For the majority of Americans who do not use tobacco, dietary choices and physical activity are the most important modifiable factors in cancer risk.

Source: American Cance Society
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