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Inauguration yields swift action: Joe Biden becomes 46th president and Kamala Harris vice president -- the first woman, African-American, and person of South Indian descent in this role. Harris seats new senators; Biden signs slew of executive actions and gets first Cabinet confirmation through the Senate.

New Tools Available to Reduce Your Cancer Risk

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January 15, 2009

Sioux Falls, SD - Making a New Year's resolution to improve health and reduce the risk of serious disease or cancer can be a challenge; it can be difficult to sift through all the information available. The American Cancer Society hopes to simplify things for South Dakotans with a new tool. Angie Balzer with the American Cancer Society in South Dakota says the Great American Health Check will help with individualized plans to reduce cancer risks.

"People put in information on their age, gender, height, weight, family history and those kinds of things, including tobacco use. They will get back an individualized action plan as to what cancer screening tests they need, suggestions on how to eat healthy meals, how to get the right amount of exercise, limiting alcohol use or tips on quitting smoking."

At some time in their life, one in three Americans will be told they have cancer. Sioux Falls oncologist Mark Huber with Avera Medical says the health check is a great way of keeping tabs on cancer health risk and screening needs throughout the year.

"I suggest thinking about cancer screening in the month of your birthday. If you're a man, think about getting your PSA checked. If you're a woman, maybe get the mammogram done that month. There is a rush in October with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and sometimes again at the end of the year, when people have already met their health insurance deductible and they're trying to get it in at the last minute. In a lot of ways, it works better to just do cancer screening during your birth month."

Balzer says there's strong scientific evidence that eating healthy foods -- including five or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day -- and daily physical activity are essential to maintaining a healthy body weight and reducing cancer risk.

The Great American Health Check is part of the Great American Health Challenge, and kicks off a full year of prevention and early detection events for the American Cancer Society.

The Great American Health Check can be accessed online at www.cancer.org.


David Law, Public News Service - SD