How to reduce your risk of cancer

World Cancer DayDid you know that cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia?

According to Cancer Council Australia, more than 43,000 people die from cancer each year — which is around 3 in 10 deaths.

The good news however, is that the survival rate for many common cancers has increased by 30 per cent in the past 20 years with 66 per cent of all people diagnosed with cancer surviving five years after diagnosis.

Statistics show that in Australia the most common cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) are prostate, colorectal (bowel), breast, melanoma and lung cancer. These five cancers account for over 60 per cent of all diagnosed cancers in Australia.

This Wednesday, 4th February marks World Cancer Day with the theme “Not beyond us”. This global day aims to save millions of lives around the world by raising awareness and education about cancer and encouraging governments and individuals to take up the fight against this disease.

According to the Union for International Cancer Control , 8.2 million people worldwide die from cancer each year. Of these, 4 million people die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years).

While not all cancers are preventable, Cancer Council Australia estimates that one third of all cancers are caused by preventable risk factors. To reduce your risk of cancer, it recommends that you follow these steps:

  • Quit smoking — quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. It has been linked to
  • Eat for health — Poor eating habits increase your risk of cancer. For good health, you should eat plenty of fruits, veggies and legumes, wholegrains, lean meat and poultry, foods low in salt and low in fat.
  • Maintain a healthy weight — Research shows that being overweight, physically inactive and not eating well cause nearly one third of all cancers. If you carry too much weight, make an effort to get it under control.
  • Be SunSmart — Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. The good news is that it is largely preventable by slipping on protective clothing, slopping on 50+ SPF sunscreen, slapping on a wide-brimmed hat, seeking shade and sliding on sunglasses.
  • Limit alcohol — Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the bowel, breast, mouth, throat, voice box, oesophagus and liver. The more you drink the higher your risk, so limit your intake.
  • Move your body — Being active every day lowers your risk of developing cancer.
  • Get checked — Early detection of cancer equates to more successful treatment, so visit your doctor regularly and ask which screening tests are relevant for you.

So don’t wait to become a statistic. Take action today to reduce your risk of developing cancer.

If you would like to make a donation to help the fight against cancer, you can donate to:
The Union for International Cancer Control
Cancer Council of Australia