Assessing that ‘ounce of prevention’

Peter Greenwald, MD. (PHOTO BY RICHARD WHELSKY)

“The way you live your life affects your chances of getting cancer,” Upstate graduate Peter Greenwald, MD, emphasized at the 12th annual Upstate Cancer Symposium in September.

Greenwald, the associate director of prevention at the National Cancer Institute, gave a rundown of behaviors that put people at risk. At the top of the list: smoking, whether tobacco, electronic cigarettes or marijuana.

He spoke of vaccines, of how aspirin lowers the risk of colorectal cancers, and of unanswered questions about the threats of environmental cancers.

He also addressed diets, and the impossibility of accurately tracking everything an individual eats and drinks over a lifetime in order to study its impact on cancer formation. Greenwald made the point that one who wishes to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle later in life needs to set about living a healthy life while still young.

This article appears in the fall 2016 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

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