Published Monday, April 10, 2023
By Lily Colquhoun, Prevention and Screening Clinical Services
Cancer has affected most people, whether you have been diagnosed with cancer or have second-hand experience due to a loved one’s diagnosis. The good news is that there are a number of ways you can be proactive to prevent cancer.
Building healthy lifestyle habits can help to reduce your risk of developing cancer:
- Live smoke-free. The single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer is to live smoke-free. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the greater your chance of developing lung and other cancers. STOP on the Net is an online program to help stop smoking cigarettes. If you or someone you know needs resources to help quit smoking commercial tobacco, visit stopstudy.ca.
- Eat healthy. Choose a variety of foods to get the nutrients you need. Select fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins instead of foods that are processed with extra sugar and salt. Red meats and processed meats such as bacon and salami should also be limited.
- Get active. Regular physical activity is a great way to improve strength, cardio and flexibility, and to help maintain a healthy body weight. It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. Making the time to be physically active can be a challenge with our busy lives, but starting off with short 10-20 minute blocks can be a good way to get in the habit.
- Less alcohol is best. Alcohol is a carcinogen that can cause at least seven types of cancer. There is new evidence that suggests individuals who drink more than six drinks per week are at high-risk for serious health issues, including cancer. If you do choose to drink, limit yourself to one drink per day and incorporate several non-drinking days into your week.
- Get screened for cancer. Routine cancer screening can detect cancer in the early stages, when it may be smaller and more easily treated. There are three organized cancer screening programs in Ontario: breast, cervical and colon. Visit net/cancerscreening to find out if you are eligible for cancer screening services.
- Learn about your family medical history. This can help you to understand your risk of developing different types of cancer.
You can find out about your risk for developing cancer and what you can do about it by visiting https://www.mycanceriq.ca.