Building a Healthier You this New Year

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 1:23pm

The New Year brings with it new opportunity, new hope, and another chance to start fresh with a healthier lifestyle. While there is no single, magical way to prevent all types of cancer, many healthy-living changes can help reduce your risk for several different types of cancers.  

Get started on building a healthier you – today – by including these key cancer-fighting steps as part of your healthy-living regimen this year:

Quit Smoking or Using Tobacco (or never start!)
It’s a fact—smoking causes cancer, and not just lung cancer. Smoking cigarettes has been linked to increased risk of cancers of the throat, mouth, nasal cavity, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix, and acute myeloid leukemia. The New York State Smokers’ Quitline can help you get started.

Adopt a Healthy Diet
In general, limit your intake of red and processed meats. Instead, opt for plant foods like veggies, fruits and whole grains, with the goal of filling 2/3 of your plate with these selections. For more guidance on healthy eating, visit the Fruits and Veggies Matter website, co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Get Up and Move
We know you’ve heard it before, but exercise is a vital component of any healthy lifestyle. Check out the NCI factsheet on the link between physical activity and cancer to learn more and for some helpful resources.

Understand Your Risk Level
Some risk factors, like family history and race, are beyond your control. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Understanding your personal risk factors for cancer is the first step to early detection, which can greatly increase your chance of survival. You should proactively talk about your cancer risk with your doctor and be sure to keep your yearly check-ups. You can also find out about surveillance and high-risk/early detection programs that may be right for you.  For instance, Roswell Park offers high-risk programs for the following: breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer.

For a more in-depth look at cancer prevention, including a breakdown of risk factors and prevention tips by cancer type, visit the NCI’s resource on cancer prevention.

Happy New Year!