About half of cancers can be prevented

03 February 2014

Toronto -

February 4 is World Cancer Day – a day to raise awareness about all aspects of cancer. This year, World Cancer Day is focused on dispelling myths, including this one: “There is nothing I can do about cancer.”

The truth is there is a great deal that can be done – at individual, community and policy levels.

“People often feel powerless when it comes to cancer,” says Pamela Fralick, President and CEO, Canadian Cancer Society. “But it’s important to remember that about half of cancers can be prevented. Being informed and taking meaningful action can make a big difference. Working together, we can stop cancer before it starts.”

Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer

Live well
About half of all cancers can be prevented through healthy living, such as eating more vegetables, fruit and fibre, moving more and sitting less, maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking, drinking less alcohol and limiting exposure to UV rays. Check out Monthly Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer.

Quit smoking
Smoking is responsible for more than 85% of lung cancer cases in Canada and is linked to many other cancers. Not smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. Our Smokers’ Helpline is a free, confidential service for smokers. Call us if you want to quit, you are thinking about quitting or you have stopped smoking and need support: 1-877-513-5333. Check out One Step at a Time.

Be aware
Know your body and report any changes to your doctor. Be aware of cancer-causing substances at home, in the workplace or in your community so that you can make informed decisions about your health. Check out Preventing Cancer and Harmful Substances.

Get checked
When cancer is found early, it’s often easier to treat. If you’re in certain age or population groups, you can have screening tests to help find breast, cervical and colorectal cancer before you’ve even noticed symptoms. Talk to your doctor about whether screening is right for you.

Know your family history
About 5% to 10% of cancers are related to family genetics. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have a family history of cancer. There are tests available that can identify if you are at increased risk.

Take action
Fight for public policy to make healthy living easier for everyone. Learn more at takeaction.cancer.ca.

Raise funds, volunteer or make a donation
When you volunteer, donate or participate in a fundraising event, you are helping to provide critical funding for research, cancer prevention, saving lives, and support and information for people living with cancer.

About World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). A truly global event taking place every year on February 4, World Cancer Day unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer. It aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about the disease, pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action. For more information, visit www.worldcancerday.org.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are working with Canadians to change cancer forever. For more information, visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

For more information, please contact:

Brooke Kelly

Communications Coordinator

Canadian Cancer Society

National office

Phone: 416-934-5321