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HealthExtra: Saving lives in 5 easy steps

Taking advantage of that ounce of prevention could mean a pound of cure for more than 115,000 people every year. That’s according to a study by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities, which suggests tens of thousands of lives would be saved if 90 percent of Americans adopted these five healthy habits:

  1. Have an aspirin a day. If 90 percent of U.S. adults took a preventive aspirin, 45,000 lives would be saved each year. People who benefit include those who have had a heart attack or a stroke or who face a higher risk of having one. Always talk with your healthcare provider first before you start any regimen.
  2. Quit for good. If adults who smoked were given medication or other assistance to kick the habit, 42,000 more might live.
  3. Get saved by a screen. Getting colorectal cancer screenings would save an additional 14,000 lives. Fewer than half of adults ages 50 and older get them now.
  4. Get shot. About 12,000 lives would be saved if another 53 percent of adults ages 50 and older got an annual flu vaccination.
  5. Get a mammogram. For nearly 4,000 women ages 40 and older, getting mammograms once every two years would be the life-and-death difference.