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Reduce Your Cancer Risk: Twelve Steps to a Healthier Life

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating


Updated February 11, 2011

Reduce Your Cancer Risk:  Twelve Steps to a Healthier Life

Reduce Your Cancer Risk: Twelve Steps to a Healthier Life

Photo © Demos Medical Publishing

The Bottom Line

Reduce Your Cancer Risk is a book that delivers on its title. Written by a health journalist and an oncologist – both with a personal and professional interest in cancer – this book gives you a risk-reducing plan. Boughton and Stefanek present the facts about cancer risk and prevention in easy-to-understand terms. They help you understand your cancer risk and steps you can take to change your behavior in order to reduce your risk. The book ends with a game plan for your future that is based on science, and not on your willpower. This is specific, dependable advice you can use to reduce your cancer risk.
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  • Easy to understand
  • Covers many types of cancer
  • Well-organized, specific advice
  • A clear plan for healthy changes


  • No charts, graphs, or visual aids


  • Authors: Barbara Boughton and Michael Stefanek, PhD
  • Editor: Ted Gansler, MD
  • Publisher: Demos Medical Publishing
  • Co-publisher: American Cancer Society
  • ISBN 10: 1932603921
  • Copyright: May 4, 2010
  • List price: $16.95
  • Book Details: Paperback - 256 pages

Guide Review - Reduce Your Cancer Risk: Twelve Steps to a Healthier Life

Change your behavior, lower your cancer risk - that's the basic message of Reduce Your Cancer Risk: Twelve Steps to a Healthier Life. It's a simple statement that sounds both promising and ominous. Co-published by the American Cancer Society, this book reinforces the conclusions of the ACS Behavioral Research Center: making healthier choices may prevent many types of cancer. We need to crush out all our cigarettes, eat smaller portions of healthier foods, and stop being couch potatoes. Research shows that deaths from cancer can be prevented or reduced by adopting healthier lifestyles - a wonderful promise, one that many of us might like to adopt! On the other hand, if we make unhealthy choices or feel restrained by finances or circumstances, does this mean we have chosen to raise our cancer risk?

Boughton and Stefanek explain the concept of cancer risk, making it personal through individual stories and examples. Boughton's family history had several cancers, and she was able to use her own life as part of the narrative for this book. Stefanek, an oncologist with a mother who endured head and neck cancer, brings his expertise to bear on risk factors, statistics, and the important chapter on making your own future game plan. Both authors collaborate so well that their voices are seamless and effective.

Who Should Read "Reduce Your Cancer Risk"

Anyone who is interested in lowering their risk of cancer or survivors who want to avoid recurrence should read this book. The largest part of this book is devoted to helping you understand your cancer risk, both in terms of genetics and personal choices, and steps you can take to lower your cancer risk. Many examples of risk reduction for breast cancer are included. One chapter covers advice for cancer survivors - 11 million of us - giving you ways to embrace survivorhood and fend off recurrence. The final chapter prepares you to step out with your own plan for cancer risk reduction. Stefanek assures us that making a healthy turnaround doesn't depend on willpower - instead, it takes a systematic approach. The authors know that we are human and can't become super healthy by making perfect choices every day after reading this book. They realistically show you how to gradually ramp up your healthy lifestyle so that it becomes a part of you - not a cage of "health guilt" that is imposed from without.

You will learn about estimating your cancer risk, making a family health history, and seven strategies to use that reduce your cancer risk. If you're a survivor, you will get a good picture of how to enjoy life after cancer while dealing with fears of recurrence and lingering side effects of cancer treatment. Finally, you will build your own plan to reduce your risk of cancer and be on your way to a longer, healthier life.


The Importance of Behavior in Cancer Prevention and Early Detection. American Cancer Society. 2008.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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