It is estimated that 134, 174 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer and 47,753 will die from cancer in 2017 alone. With statistics this devastatingly high it’s important to understand what changes you can make to reduce your risk.
Many believe that genetics and family history are the main predictors of cancer. In fact, inherited genetic mutations play a major role in only about 5 – 10% of all cancers. Meaning you can help lower your risk of developing 90 – 95% cancers through lifestyle choices.
Smoking tobacco increases your risk of a number of types of cancer. Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are carcinogens or known to cause cancer.
According to the Cancer Council quitting smoking has a number of health benefits:
- 12 hours after stopping – Almost all nicotine is out of your system with most by-products gone within five days.
- 24 hours – The level of carbon monoxide in your blood has dropped dramatically, meaning your body can take and use oxygen more efficiently.
- 2 days – Your senses of taste and smell start to return.
- 2 months – Blood flow to your hands and feet improves.
- 1 year – Your risk of heart disease rapidly drops.
- 10 years – Your risk of lung cancer is halved.
For more information and support to quit smoking visit Quit Now.
Ensuring your regular diet consists of healthy choices can help reduce your lifestyle risk of developing some cancers. Keep these four tips in mind next time you’re at the grocery shops:
- Eat the recommended 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit daily.
- Eat a high fibre diet which includes unprocessed cereals, grains and legumes.
- Limit your red meat intake.
- Limit your processed meat intake.
Maintaining a healthy fitness level and weight may help lower your risk of various types of cancer. While you can gain health benefits from any physical activity, at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week is ideal. Try to include 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine.
Keep sun smart
Especially in the Sunshine State! Skin cancer is one of the most common and preventable forms of cancer. When you’re out in the sun, remember:
- Slip on a shirt
- Slop on sunscreen
- Slap on a hat
- Seek shade
- Slide on sunglasses
Immunisation against Hepatitis B and Human papillomavirus (HPV) can help decrease your risk of cancers associated with these viral infections.
- Hepatitis B – Can increase your risk of developing liver cancer.
- HPV – Sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and other genital cancers.
Regular medical checks
Cancer treatment is more likely to be successful if discovered early. Ensure your receive your regular medical checks to screen for certain cancers including:
- Skin cancer
- Colon cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
To check your cancer risk based on your current lifestyle the Cancer Australia has created this online calculator