Cancer Prevention

By: Lindsey Ward Email
By: Lindsey Ward Email

January 28, 2007

The doctor's we spoke with said there are several factors that help determine who gets cancer and genetics is one of those, but a patient's lifestyle can play a role as well.

“This is the second consecutive year there was a drop in the number of cancer deaths in the United States,” President Bush announced.

Three thousand less people died from cancer last year. Experts credit early detection and a decline in smoking, both measures initiated by the patient.

But are there other measures one can take on a daily basis to prevent the risk of cancer?

“I don't know maybe or maybe not, it all depends,” said one local resident.

The answer is yes.

“There are two strategies for dealing with cancer. First is prevention and it is hard to completely prevent cancer. There are things you can do to reduce you're risk though,” said UVa Associate Professor of Radiology, Dr. Jennifer Harvey.

For starters the age old saying an “apple a day keeps the doctor away,” eating healthy has been proven to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.

“As far as diet, low saturated fats, lower fat diet, increased fiber for colon cancer, fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Dr. Harvey.

In addition to cutting back on junk food, doctors advise people moderate activity three to four days a week cuts back on your risk of cancer.

“Exercise reduces cancer risk whether you're older or younger and that's a really good thing,” Dr. Harvey said.

Doctor Harvey added a cancer prevention lifestyle should begin as early as childhood, “because that's when you really learn to eat and whether you're going to be a physically active person in life or not.”

The second strategy dealing with cancer Dr. Harvey said is detection. She advises patients to speak with their doctor to determine if they are high risk and based on that decision, determines how old a person should be when they start being screened.

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