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Thursday, January 02, 2014 - Five Tips for Reducing Cancer Risk in 2014

While you cannot change your genetics, there are steps you can take starting today that may make a big difference in facing the disease. Fox Chase Cancer Center and Inspira Health Network offer some key advice about cancer screening and healthy lifestyle habits to help reduce your cancer risk. In 2014, make it your New Year’s resolution to fight cancer proactively. Here are some tips:

1. Get regular cancer screenings.
Screening tests are available for various types of cancers, such as breast, colorectal, prostate, and cervical cancers. Having regular screenings may improve your chances of discovering cancer at its earliest stages, when it may be treated more effectively.

“It is important to talk with your doctor about cancer screening, when you should begin screening, and how often these tests should be repeated,” says Mark L. Sobczak, MD, Chief Network Officer at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Inspira offers free cancer screenings to eligible residents of Cumberland and Gloucester counties at several locations through the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program (NJCEED), which can be found in every county in New Jersey. For more information about the NJCEED program, please call (856) 641-8686 for residents of Cumberland County or (856) 686-5036 for residents of Gloucester County.

2. Avoid smoking or using tobacco.
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 one of the best thing you can do to help prevent cancer, no matter your age and even if you have smoked for years. In addition, the use of other tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, has been linked to an increased risk of oral and pancreatic cancers. Even if you don’t smoke, being around those who do may increase your cancer risk through exposure to secondhand smoke.
Inspira’s tobacco dependence treatment specialists are ready to assist individuals with gaining skills to manage a quit attempt. For more information or to be referred to one of Inspira’s specialists, call (856) 641-8670. Other available resources include the NJ Quitline (1-866-NJSTOPS) which is a free telephone-counseling service for smokers who are ready to stop smoking.
3. Make healthy foods a part of your everyday diet.
Maintaining a balanced diet, complete with plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and beans, may help to ward off cancer. Limit your intake of red meats and high-fat foods. And if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Recent studies have shown that eating healthy costs less than two dollars a day more and has the potential for long term savings in healthcare costs.

4. Exercise regularly.
Research has shown that individuals who lead a physically active lifestyle have a lower risk of certain cancers than those who are sedentary. Such types of cancers include colorectal cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, and endometrial cancer. Exercising and eating right also help you maintain a healthy weight. This is important as obesity may increase your cancer risk.

Aim to fit about 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine. Find something you enjoy, whether it’s taking a brisk walk, playing a sport, riding your bike, or joining a fitness class.

5. Protect your skin from the sun.
Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays may lead to skin cancer. Even in winter, the sun’s UV rays can do damage to your skin. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or higher every day. Limit sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wear sunglasses with 99-100 percent UV absorption to protect your eyes and surrounding skin. Avoid other sources of UV light, such as tanning beds and sun lamps.

Learn more about cancer risk and resources at Fox Chase Cancer Center and Inspira Health Network by visiting foxchase.org and www.InspiraHealthNetwork.org/cancer.

As a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner, Inspira’s Frank and Edith Scarpa Regional Cancer Pavilion has early access to new research discoveries on cancer prevention and treatment. Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners is a select group of community hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey affiliated with Fox Chase Cancer Center—part of Temple University Health System—to provide the latest in cancer research, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in their own communities. Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners offers patients, families, and their physicians enhanced resources to deal with the burden of cancer, including the newest clinical trials.

Inspira Health Network is a charitable nonprofit health care organization formed in November 2012 by the merger of South Jersey Healthcare and Underwood-Memorial Hospital. The network, which traces its roots to 1899, now comprises three hospitals, four multi-specialty health centers and a total of more than 60 locations. These include outpatient imaging and rehabilitation centers; urgent care; numerous specialty centers, including sleep medicine, cardiac testing and wound care; home care and hospice; and more than two dozen primary and specialty physician practices in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.

Together with its medical staff of more than 1,100 physicians and other care providers, Inspira Health Network provides evidence-based care to help each patient achieve the best possible outcome. Clinical and support staffs are focused on providing safe care in a safe environment.