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Our Most-Read Health Stories of 2011

Focused on Health - December 2011

health cancer storiesby Adelina Espat

Before you ring in the New Year, let’s revisit some of this year’s most-read cancer prevention articles. You may discover a few you missed — and find some new cancer-fighting habits to adopt in 2012!

1. Healthier Ways to Grill Meat

Feasting on many popular meats served at barbecues may increase your risk for colorectal cancer. And, even some ‘safer’ meats can expose you to cancer-causing agents if they’re cooked improperly.

But, don’t cancel your next barbecue just yet. Make these changes, and you may keep your health from going up in flames.

  • Avoid processed meats like bacon, hot dogs and salami. Cancer-causing substances form when these meats are preserved.
  • Limit red meat, like beef and pork (including hamburgers). Stick to one serving, which is about the size of a deck of cards, to curb your cancer risks.
  • Don't char or burn meat, poultry or fish. The heterocyclic amines (HCAs) in charred meat can damage your genes.
  • Use a marinade. Marinating meat can prevent HCA from forming.
  • Trim the fat. Cancer-causing substances form in the smoke when fat from meat drips onto the heat source.

health app2. Mobile & Web Apps to Prevent Cancer

A good health app can be hard to find. So, we put together a list of some of the best health apps for exercise, nutrition, weight management, quitting smoking and sun safety.

Also, check out our tips on how to separate good from bad apps before purchasing your next one. After all, not all health apps get the job done.

3. Women: Screening Exams by Age

What exams do you need to check for cancer? The answer depends on your age. Review our exam checklist with your doctor at your next check-up. 

These exams are for women at average risk of cancer. If you believe you may be more likely to develop cancer because of your personal or family medical history, visit our screening guidelines page to learn about exams for women at increased risk.

4. Women: Age-Proof Your Health

Life changes at every decade. So does your body. So, we’ve created a plan to help you set health goals at every stage of life. Remember, practicing these healthy behaviors is important for all women, regardless of age.

  • Your 20s: Avoid exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV). To do this, limit your number of sexual partners, consistently practice protected sex and get the HPV vaccine if you’re younger than age 26. High-risk strains of HPV are present in more than 99% of cervical cancer cases.
  • Your 30s: Take time to unwind. Juggling the role of mom, wife, caretaker and employee brings increased stress. And, chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body, making it harder to fight off cancer.
  • Your 40s and older: Maintain a healthy weight. As we get older, our metabolism decreases. But, making healthy food choices and staying active can help you maintain a healthy weight to avoid diseases like cancer.

5. 5 Ways to Bust Your Breast Cancer Risk

Our in-house expert, Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center, shares five simple ways to cut your breast cancer risk.health cancer stories

  • Drink alcohol in moderation. Drinking several glasses a day can up your breast cancer risks.
  • Talk to your doctor about hormone therapy. Recent results from the Women’s Health Initiative showed that women who took combined hormone therapy (estrogen and progestin) had a higher risk of breast cancer.
  • Maintain your ideal weight. Women who gain a lot of weight after age 21 are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
  • Follow recommended screening guidelines. Cancer screening exams, such as the mammogram, help find breast cancer at its earliest stage when the chances of successfully treating the disease are greatest.
  • Get your breast cancer risk assessed. You may be more likely or less likely to develop the disease based on your lifestyle as well as your personal and family health history.

Visit our Facebook page and tell us about your favorite Focused on Health 2011 article or what you’d like to learn more about in the coming year. We’d love to hear from you!

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