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Five simple choices help reduce cancer risk

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Five simple lifestyle choices are all it takes to improve your health and reduce your risk of cancer by up to 50 per cent.

That’s the message behind Kick Cancer, a brand new campaign from the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation that asks Manitobans to join together to prevent cancer and to sign a risk reduction pledge.

According to CancerCare Manitoba, the number of cancer cases in this province is expected to continue to increase over the next two decades. That means you and me, our families, friends and neighbours all need to make changes and choices right now that will help lessen the chance we will experience the jarring news of cancer diagnosis.

So what are these five steps?

Eat well: A balanced diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables helps maintain a healthy weight. Each year nearly 2,000 Manitobans are diagnosed with a cancer related to an unhealthy diet and 30 per cent of all cancers diagnosed are weight-related. Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating will help get you on the right path;

Shape up: Being active and maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce your risk of colon cancer and may also reduce your risk of breast cancer. It can also reduce stress, increase energy levels and improve your outlook on life;

Be smoke-free: Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke. More than 800 Manitobans die annually because they smoked or were exposed to second-hand or "passive" smoke;

Cover up: Protect yourself from exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays via the sun or tanning beds, and check your skin regularly for changes. Not only can UV exposure cause premature wrinkles and age spots, it can increase the risk of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer;

Get checked:
Regular screening tests and visits with your doctor or dentist can help find cancer at an early stage. The earlier cancer is found the more successful treatment is likely to be.

Take the pledge at KickCancer.ca and follow them on Twitter: @KickCancerMB.

David Hultin is a community correspondent for Charleswood.

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