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Preventing cancer is thought to be preventable with a healthy lifestyle Special To The Star-news | Sat, Sep 11 2010 12:00 PM

Poor nutrition and lack of exercise are typically associated with chronic health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis, but did you know that these lifestyle choices can also increase your risk for developing certain types of cancers? According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), there is a clear link between obesity and an increased chance for developing cancer. In addition to obesity, inadequate intake of nutrient-rich foods and consumption of alcohol are factors that contribute to developing many different types of cancers.

The ACS reports that a correlation exists between obesity and cancer of the breast, colon, uterus, esophagus and kidney. "Studies have shown that routine physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight is a considerable measure that can be taken to prevent cancerous cells from developing," remarks Teresa Langley, Director of Operations and Radiation Therapist at UCSD Radiation Oncology South Bay.

The likelihood of developing certain cancers can be further increased by factors such as gender and when the weight-gain occurred. For example, the risk for developing colon cancer is greater for obese men than for obese women. Also, women who have become overweight post-menopause are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer as compared with women who have been overweight throughout the majority of their lifespan.

A healthy weight can be achieved and maintained through regular physical activity and proper diet. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advises that adults engage in 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity 5 days per week. Moderate intensity physical activity can include, but is not limited to, brisk walking, dancing, or doing yard work. The DHHS recommends this activity be performed in intervals of at least 10 minutes, and spread throughout the week rather than completed all at once.

In addition to exercise, consuming foods that are rich in nutrients can lower your risk for developing many different types of cancer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set forth food guidelines that have important health benefits not only for preventing cancer, but for preventing many other diseases. The USDA recommends consuming fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors and textures, and avoiding refined carbohydrates, opting for whole grain alternatives instead.

This article was brought to you by UC San Diego Radiation Oncology South Bay. For more information about the facility, call (619) 502-7730 or visit http:// radonc.ucsd.edu/southbay.

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