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My husband says that a person's chance of developing cancer is simply a matter of fate. What does the National Cancer Institute say?

National Cancer Institute (NCI) experts emphasize that people can do many things to reduce their chance of developing cancer. Scientists estimate that more than half of all cancer deaths in the United States could be prevented by certain lifestyle choices. The NCI urges people to do the following to reduce their risk of cancer:

  • Avoid tobacco. Smoking causes cancers of the lung, throat, mouth, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix. Smoking also may increase the chance of getting cancers of the stomach, liver, prostate, colon, and rectum. Call the NCI's Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848) for free help with quitting.
  • Eat healthy. Studies have shown that eating low-fat foods, whole grains, and at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily can affect your health in a positive way.
  • If you drink, do so in moderation. Heavy drinkers have an increased risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, larynx, and liver. The risk is especially high for those who drink heavily and smoke.
  • Stay trim. Get some exercise and try to maintain your ideal weight. Obesity appears to increase the risk of cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, endometrium (lining of the uterus), cervix, ovary, kidney, and gallbladder. Studies have found that obesity also may increase the risk of cancers of the liver, pancreas, rectum, and esophagus.
  • Get screened. Through regular screening tests, pre-cancerous conditions and early cancers can be found and treated. Talk with your doctor about your cancer risk factors and which screening tests you should have.
  • Be knowledgeable. For the latest, most accurate information on cancer prevention, treatment, and clinical trials (research studies with people), call the Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER.


Source: "Ask the CIS" by the Cancer Information Service. "Ask the CIS" is distributed by the Cancer Information Service (CIS) of the Heartland, which serves Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri & Illinois. The CIS is a program of the National Cancer Institute. Call the CIS toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. local time.

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Last update: Tuesday, November 25, 2008




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