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Minimizing Your Risks for Cancer

Cancer prevention is about focusing on factors we can control. The choices you make about diet, exercise and other habits can affect or even lessen your risk for developing cancer. It’s also important to follow recommendations for cancer screening tests to give you the best chance of finding cancer as early as possible – while it’s small and before it has spread. Take control of your health, and help reduce your cancer risk.

Cancer prevention and screening action plan:

  • Stop smoking — or better yet, don't start.
  • Watch your alcohol consumption.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, and get more than 3.5 hours of physical activity each week.
  • Avoid UV exposure from the sun, tanning beds and other culprits.
  • Visit your doctor regularly for preventive care visits.
  • Complete recommended cancer screenings:
    • Colonoscopy every 10 years from ages 50 to 75.
    • Lung imaging every year for current or former smokers from ages 55 to 80.
    • Pap test for women every 3 years from ages 21 to 65.
    • Mammogram for women every 2 years from ages 50 to 74.

Check your skin

Moles are common skin growths, and while most moles are harmless, they should be closely monitored: New growths or changes to existing moles can be signs of melanoma. All melanomas of the skin appear as a new or changing spot, bump, mass, patch or freckle and can occur in any racial group, regardless of skin color. Read ahead to learn whether your moles are harmless or should be checked out by a doctor.

A Asymmetry: Half of the mole or spot is unlike the other half.

B Border: It has an irregular or undefined border.

C Color: The color changes from one area to another.

D Diameter: The mole or spot is larger than a pencil eraser.

E Evolving: It looks different from others on your body or is changing.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

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