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AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute offers New Year resolution tips

Are cancer screenings among your 2013 resolutions?

The AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute, a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner, reminds you of the importance of screening in detecting cancer at its earliest stages.

“While you can’t escape genetics, there are environmental and lifestyle factors you can control,” said Michael J Kane, MD, FACP, medical director of Medical Oncology and Infusion Services, the AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute, and assistant professor, Department of Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center. “Resolve to have regular cancer screenings, refrain from smoking, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and protect yourself from the sun.”

Having age and risk-factor appropriate cancer screenings can increase your chance of discovering cancer early, when it can be treated more effectively.

“It’s important to talk with your doctor about cancer screening, when you should begin having certain screenings, and how often,” said Mark L. Sobczak, MD, chief network officer, Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Smoking cigarettes is linked to an increased risk of developing many types of cancers, including bladder, cervical, esophageal, kidney, lung, oral, pancreatic, and stomach cancers.

“Quitting smoking, or not starting the habit at all, is the best thing you can do to help prevent cancer, no matter your age and even if you’ve smoked for years,” said James C. Wurzer, MD, PhD, medical director, Radiation Oncology, AtlantiCare. “Use of other tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, has been linked to an increased risk of oral and pancreatic cancers. Exposure to secondhand smoke also increases your risk.”

Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans in your diet. Limit your intake of red meats and high-fat foods. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Research shows people who lead physically active lifestyles have a lower risk of certain cancers than those who are sedentary. These types of cancers include colorectal cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, and endometrial cancer. Exercising and eating right also will help you maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can increase your cancer risk.

“Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause freckles and wrinkles, but in more serious cases, it can lead to skin cancer,” said Kane. “Even in winter, the sun’s UV rays can damage your skin.”

Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Wear sunglasses with 99-100 percent UV absorption to protect eyes and surrounding skin. Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.

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