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Cancer prevention

Cancer prevention: what you can do

Many believe the most common cause of cancer is a genetic predisposition. However, only 5 to 10 percent of cancers are hereditary. Instead, lifestyle may, in some cases, play a more important role. Learn what you can do in your everyday life to reduce your risk.

Don’t smoke.

90 percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking as well as 30 percent of all cancer deaths. In addition, smoking is a key risk factor for 14 other cancers, including cancers of the head and neck, bladder, breast, kidney, cervix, pancreas, stomach, colon, rectum and blood. If you smoke, quit now.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Approximately 120,000 cancer deaths per year are related to being overweight or obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of greater or equal to 30. Calculate your BMI and stay within your healthy weight range.

Exercise.

Get moving and find an activity or exercise program you enjoy. Evidence has shown young women can decrease their risk of breast cancer later in life by regular exercise in the years between their first period and having their first child.

Eat healthy.

Eat a diet full of whole, nutritious foods, like fruits and vegetables, while limiting your intake of red meat, animal fat and alcohol. Reference the Siteman Cancer Center and American Cancer Society websites for more guidance on healthy eating.

Get screened.

There are a number of screenings that can detect cancer early, including mammograms and colonoscopies. Speak with your doctor about which screenings are recommended for you.

You can lower your risk of cancer by leading a healthy lifestyle and by being proactive about your health. The recently expanded Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital provides patients in St. Charles County with access to comprehensive cancer care, including prevention.

Karen Hampel is a nurse coordinator and Kelly Tschannen is the medical oncology manager at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital. To learn more, visit BJCStCharlesCounty.org or call 314.747.7222.