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10 ways to prevent cancer in 2016

04 January 2016

Toronto -

If you’re looking to make a fresh start on a healthier life, there is no better time than the new year. About half of all cancers can be prevented by making adjustments to live healthier. We’ve gathered 10 of our top tips for cancer prevention to help you be your healthiest in 2016.

1. Be a non-smoker

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. Within 10 years of quitting, an ex-smoker’s risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half. If you don’t smoke, do your best to avoid smoke. No amount of second-hand smoke is safe.

2. Have a healthy body weight

Besides not smoking, having a healthy body weight is one of the best things you can do to prevent cancer. Check with your doctor about what a healthy body weight is for you and how you can work toward it.

3. Eat well 

Enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruit every day. Limit red meat and avoid processed meat. Eat lots of fibre. Eating a healthy diet can help reduce your cancer risk.

4. Move more and sit less

Aim for 30 minutes of daily activity that gets your heart going each day to help protect against cancer. Too much sitting is different from not enough physical activity and can also increase your cancer risk. Try to take frequent, short breaks from sitting.

5. Limit alcohol

It’s sobering news, but drinking any type or amount of alcohol increases your risk of developing cancer. The less alcohol you drink, the more you reduce your risk of cancer.

6. Practise sun safety

In Canada, sunlight is strong enough to cause skin cancer. Stay in the shade, wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and apply sunscreen properly. Also, don’t use tanning beds! Tanned skin is damaged skin.

7. Ask about vaccines

Hepatitis B infection increases your risk of liver cancer. HPV infection can lead to cervical, penile and other cancers. Check with your doctor about whether a hepatitis B or HPV vaccine is a good idea for you.

8. Test for radon

Radon is a colourless, odourless, tasteless radioactive gas found naturally in the environment. About 16% of lung cancer deaths in Canada are related to indoor radon. Test your home for radon by buying a test kit and take steps to lower radon levels if needed.

9. Be aware of hormones

Taking hormone replacement therapy for menopause or the birth control pill increases the risk of some cancers and decreases the risk of others. If you’re concerned, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.

10. Get screened

Screening tests help find cancer before you have any symptoms and even help prevent cancer by finding changes in your body that would become cancer if left untreated. Find out about organized screening programs for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers in your area.

Find out more about the most important ways to reduce your risk of cancer using our interactive prevention tool at itsmylife.cancer.ca or call 1-888-939-3333.