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Easy Way to Cut Cancer Deaths in Half

Photo taken by Carlos Paes. The morguefile contains photographs freely contributed by many artists to be used in creative projects by visitors to the site.

Cancer deaths could be cut in half if people simply followed advice that's known to work, according to a new study by the American Cancer Society.

None of the advice will surprise you:

Don't smoke, don't be obese, improve your diet, exercise, and make use of cancer screening tests.

"This year, for the first time, there was a drop in the reported number of actual cancer deaths in the U.S.," said Dr. Carolyn Runowicz, national volunteer president of the American Cancer Society. "Although we are winning the 'war on cancer,' there is a remarkable opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of lives and to reduce suffering from this disease with lifestyle changes and an increased use of proven screening strategies."

Tobacco alone will kill 170,000 Americans this year, the report estimates.

People who use tobacco have a higher risk of cancers of the lung, mouth, nasal cavities, larynx , throat, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix.

Second-hand smoke also raises cancer risk.

Smoking is declining, researchers say. But still about a fourth of all men and 18 percent of women smoked as of 2004. Some 22 percent of teens reported being smokers in 2003.

The society recommends higher tobacco taxes and tighter restrictions on smoking in public places in an effort to curb smoking further in the face of the $15 billion a year tobacco companies spend on advertising and promotion.