Welcome to Friday Fix: Your Weekly Nutrition Supplement! Every Friday, we’ll bring you a new hot topic related to diet and nutrition. Since April is Cancer Control Month, we’re kicking off our series with a reminder to strive to make healthy food choices each day in order to feel as good as possible.

It’s known that genetics plays a role in cancer diagnoses. But minimizing environmental factors that can contribute to risk is important, regardless of family history.

Maria Petzel, senior clinical dietitian for the Pancreas Surgery Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and a member of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, said that not smoking, staying active and making healthy food choices are keys to minimizing the risk of developing cancer.

In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that 19 percent of pancreatic cancer cases in the United States could be prevented by getting to and maintaining a healthy weight.

“The more junk we put in our bodies, the more they have to work to eliminate it,” Petzel said. “Minimizing junk – things like processed meats, refined carbohydrates, or excess sugar and saturated fat – means our bodies can focus on doing what they’re supposed to do.”

Part of that is warding off diseases.

“It all comes down to making good choices,” she said. “We all know what we are supposed to do, but it’s doing it that’s challenging. The good news is that every day is a new day. We’re not always going to have the best options, but we should always strive to make the healthier choice.”

Be sure to check out our related blog about snack options suitable for pancreatic cancer patients – also delicious enough to share with family and friends.

Pancreatic cancer patients and caregivers can access comprehensive disease information, including diet and nutrition tips, recipes and a booklet on the subject – all reviewed and approved by renowned leaders in the field, including Petzel – by contacting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s one-on-one PanCAN Patient Services support service by phone or email.