There is a big difference between early detection and prevention. This is an important concept to understand. Many women think getting a mammogram is prevention. It is not prevention. A mammogram will pick up a cancer that has already formed, but will not prevent it. Mammograms are important for detecting breast cancer at an early stage. Once a mammogram detects a cancer, it has actually been growing for a while. It takes years to grow to a detectable size. Furthermore, colonoscopies are also important for picking up cancer at an early stage. Just like mammograms, they will not prevent colon cancer. Early detection, including mammograms and colonoscopies, is clearly important, as most cancers are much more treatable the earlier they are detected. On the other hand, it is obviously better to prevent cancer or heart disease in the first place. There are many ways to help prevent many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. First of all, diet is a critical component of prevention. A diet low in saturated fat and filled with various complex carbs can help prevent many chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, hypertension and diabetes. Fruits and vegetables are filled with fiber and phytonutrients to help ward off these diseases. The more colors and varieties of fruits and vegetables the better. Good examples include broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, and kale just to name a few. Exercise is also important to preventing many chronic diseases. Regular aerobic exercise can help prevent both heart disease and cancer. All it takes is at least 20-30 minutes every other day. Walking, swimming, jogging, rowing, and playing tennis are all great aerobic activities. Get moving! Finally, obesity is a major cause of many chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease. Obesity is felt to be one of the largest causes of breast cancer in women. You must know your BMI (body mass index). Your initial goal should be less than 30. Your long term goal should be 25. Most chronic diseases are now preventable! Do not wait for bad news. It is much better to prevent heart disease and cancer to begin with, versus dealing with them once they occur. Take control of your health and live a long and healthy life.