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An ounce of prevention ...

April 02, 2004

You've got the power to decrease your odds of getting cancer,

according to the American Cancer Society.

Here's the society's check list of do's and don'ts

For everyone:

* Pass up the smokes and alcohol.

Just a few beers, glasses of wine or mixed drinks a week increases

your chances of getting breast cancer and other cancers, advises the

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society.

Avoid all tobacco products and stay away from second-hand smoke.

"Eighty percent of all bladder cancer is found in males and 50% of

them are smokers," said nonsmoker Norm Grossman, who was diagnosed

with bladder cancer in September.

* Eat right

Substitute five or more servings of fruits and vegetables for

high-fat foods like hamburgers or fries.

Eating foods like nuts and olive oil that contain Vitamin E appear

to halve the risk of bladder cancer, according to published reports

on research delivered at a cancer conference Sunday in Florida.

* Watch your weight

* Run from the sun

The sun can cause more than wrinkles. If you poke your nose out

the door, make sure it is protected by sunscreen that is SPF 15 or

higher. Hats are good, so are sunglasses.

And stay away from tanning beds, advises the cancer society.

Sunless tanning lotions have improved dramatically in both appearance

and application.

* Get your family medical history and file it with your physician.

Some kinds of cancer run in families. This doesn't mean you won't

get cancer if no one in your family has ever had it. It doesn't

replace annual checkups or reduce the importance of

self-examinations.

* Exercise

Staying active has long been considered deterrent to cancer, but a

study released at the Orlando conference reported that walking one to

three hours a week can increase a woman's chance of surviving breast

cancer by 19%. The risk is reduced by 42% for women who walk five to

eight hours a week.

"The number one risk of getting breast cancer is being a woman,"

said cancer survivor Trudy Grossman. "Only 1% of diagnosed breast

cancer is male. The next highest risk is age."

Cancer Society advice for women only:

* Start getting a Pap test when you start having sex.

* Examine breasts, starting at age 20.

Learn how they feel, so you will be more likely to detect changes.

As your get older, look for changes in color, size or shaped in

moles or freckles. Report changes to your doctor.

* Tell your mom to get a mammogram every year.

It could save her life. What better Mother's Day present could you

give her?

-- Barbara Diamond

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