Simple changes can cut cancer risk in half

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Exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and controlling other diseases up your odds of preventing cancer. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and controlling other diseases up your odds of preventing cancer. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the key things you can do to reduce risk. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the key things you can do to reduce risk. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Doctors recommend stopping smoking to prevent cancer or better yet, don't even start. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Doctors recommend stopping smoking to prevent cancer or better yet, don't even start. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
GOODYEAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Cancer can be a devastating health diagnosis, and while there are many factors involved in what causes the disease, Dr. David Boyd, MD at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, says you have more control than you might think in reducing your risk.  

“Overall, you can actually decrease cancer risk by up to 50 percent, which is huge,” says Dr. Boyd.  

While there is no way to predict or prevent all cancers, but that doesn't mean you can't stack the odds in your favor.

“And it is by doing things, we actually know to do already,” he says. "First and foremost, stop, or better yet, never start smoking. So 35 percent decrease in cancer by not smoking in the first place.”

That decrease is across multiple types of cancer but Dr. Jeffrey Weber, MD, also at Cancer Treatment Centers, says it can be especially pronounced in gastrointestinal cancers.

“Don't smoke, limit alcohol, limit fatty food, keep barbecues to a minimum, all these things contribute to pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer,” Weber said.

In fact, maintaining a healthy diet is one of the key things you can do to reduce risk.

"If it is a food that rots, that is probably a good thing, versus something out of a box or bag or that you can go through a drive thru and get,” says Dr. Boyd.

Exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and controlling other diseases also up your odds of preventing cancer.

“If you are a diabetic, work with your doctor get the best possible control because you are at risk of colon cancer or pancreatic cancer as well,” Dr. Weber said.

And as a brand new study shows, alcohol is a risk factor for breast cancer. Dr. Boyd says if you do use it, exercise moderation.

“And so really that is one serving of alcohol, and when I say one serving that is this much, not this much,” he says showing what would be a small glass versus a large container.

Other simple steps, he recommends, “Making sure you see your doctor once a year, practicing safe sex, getting your regular checkups, regular vaccines and so forth.”

All empowering you, to take control of your health, says Dr. Weber.

“I believe you have a lot of power. I believe 80 percent of cancers in the United States are caused by lifestyle,” Dr. Weber said.

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