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Decreasing Your Cancer Risk

While family history plays a big part in the development of cancer, your lifestyle can be just as critical. You can reduce your risk of developing cancer, as well as several other diseases, by taking the following steps:

Stop Smoking and/or Chewing Tobacco
Not only will this benefit you, it will help those who live with you. To help you accomplish what can seem like an impossible task, The Chester County Hospital offers Stop Smoking Now! classes on a regular basis. Or, talk with your doctor about options to help you quit.

Exercising
Fitting in at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily also can help reduce your risk of cancer, while providing other significant health risks. While the options are plentiful, an activity as simple as walking can make a big difference.

Eating Right
A low-fat diet rich in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables can help prevent cancers such as colorectal -- especially when there is a family history of the disease. It is never too late to start eating right. Arming yourself with the information you need to make the right food choices is half the battle. Then, we recommend that you introduce small changes into your diet, instead of trying to do them all at once.

If you are having trouble knowing what steps to take or to decipher the loads of nutritional information published, then nutritional counseling can help. The Chester County Hospital offers one-to-one counseling provided by a team of experienced Registered Dietitians. The staff will be glad to work with you to develop an individualized nutrition program, which includes meal planning, snack suggestions, shopping list, cooking tips, dining out ideas, and more.

Maintaining Ideal Body Weight
Being overweight can increase your risk of cancer as well as a host of other medical conditions. In an age of "super size," it's easy to put on those extra pounds without much effort. By adding in exercise and watching the amount of high-fat foods you consume, you can take off those unwanted pounds. Again, we recommend that you begin slowly, taking one step at a time. If tackling a weight problem seems more than you can do on your own, talk with your doctor about options or consider an organized program such as The Chester County Hospital's Healthy Steps.

Protecting Your Skin
Avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun during midday is the best protection against skin cancer. With so many outdoor activities that families enjoy, avoiding the sun altogether can be difficult and unrealistic. We recommend a two-fold approach: dress properly and apply sunscreen iberally. Wear as much clothing as is comfortable, add a wide-brim hat to shade your face, and top your outfit off with a cool pair of sunglasses with UV protection. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher often, especially when swimming or enjoying other water sports. Don't be fooled by a cloudy day -- sunscreen is still needed to protect yourself from the UV rays that can damage your skin.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Smoking Cessation Programs: 610.738.2300
Fitness Programs: 610.738.BFIT
Nutrition Counseling: 610.431.5498
Weight Management Programs: 610.738.2300

Last Updated: 8/26/2010