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A Note From Your Doctor - Resolutions 2010

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Advance Medical Directives

Noelle LoConte, MD, Oncologist, UW Carbone Cancer Center
Dr. Noelle LoConte

In this month's edition of A Note From Your Doctor, Noelle LoConte, MD offers resolutions for the upcoming New Year.

 

It's hard to believe another year has gone by.

 

This has been another busy and promising year in oncology. Most notably, we appear to have made real progress against some of the most common cancers - breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancers - with anticipated continued decreases in both incidence and mortality rates over the coming years.

 

I know that for some who are reading this, that is of little comfort, though, if you are fighting any cancer right now, or if someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer. You may be asking yourself, "what can we do?" This desire to make positive change can also be especially prominent this time of year as we think about a new year, new beginnings, and new resolutions.

 

Resolution is defined as "firm determination" and that is an apt description of how my patients frequently approach treating their cancers. If you are thinking of making positive changes in your life for cancer prevention and optimal treatment of cancer, consider making the following changes:

  • Quit smoking!
  • Reduce high risk alcohol intake (either binge or high volume drinking)
  • Get daily exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Make sure you are up to date with recommended cancer screening
  • Make sure you know your family history of cancer

And if you are a caregiver for a patient with cancer, consider resolving to keep yourself healthy by adopting some of the same resolutions, and to allow yourself some personal time to prevent burning out down the line.

 

And to caregivers and patients alike, give your family the gift of a completed health care power of attorney and sit down with your chosen representatives to discuss your preferences for care. This will spare your loved ones much struggling down the line wondering what you would have wanted.

 

About Dr. LoConte

Dr. LoConte is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She joined the faculty of the UW Carbone Cancer Center in the summer of 2006. She was the recipient of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award for 2006. Her clinical interests are in gastrointestinal cancers, as well as cancer of any type in the older adult.

Dr. LoConte writes a column for Advances e-Newsletter called A Note From Your Doctor. In her column, she shares her thoughts on healthy living, cancer research and current treatments. She will even answer your questions.