Simple steps to reduce your risk of cancer | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In Lifehouse News

Did you know that there are six simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of cancer?

  1. Take a look at your diet – Cancer Australia recommends a balanced diet, including five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day. Worldwide, it is estimated that there are 374,000 cancer deaths each year that can be attributed to low fruit and vegetable intake!
  2. Be SunSmart – Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, with Australia and New Zealand having the highest skin cancer rates in the world. The Cancer Council recommends that whenever you are exposed to the sun; Slip on sun protective clothing, Slop on SPF 30+ sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Seek shade and Slip on sun protective sunglasses.
  3. Quit smoking – Smoking is the largest cause of preventable cancers. To reduce your risk of cancer caused by smoking, investigate ways to stop now. And avoid contact with second hand smoke too. Ten years after quitting smoking, your risk of lung cancer is less than half than that of a continued smoker, and this will only continue to decline!
  4. Moderate your alcohol intake – The more you drink, the higher your risk of developing cancer. The safe recommended level of daily intake of alcohol is two standard drinks for men, and one standard drink for women.
  5. Watch your weight – Having a healthy body weight can lower your risk of cancer, with excessive body fat having the ability to increase your risk for numerous different cancers. There are also many other serious diseases that can occur due to being overweight. Check how your weight may impact on your health at the Healthy Weight Guide. 
  6. Get some exercise – Cancer Australia recommends getting at least 30 minutes of physical exercise every day. It is estimated globally that 135,000 deaths from cancer each year can be attributed to physical inactivity.

But there are still so many factors that can contribute to a cancer diagnosis which are not fully understood and are out of our control. For patients who have a family history or are concerned about having a higher cancer risk, the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse offers a Cancer Risk Reduction Clinic. This clinic gives patients the opportunity to be assessed in a way that covers many different areas, including common cancers. Patients come away with a personalized cancer risk reduction plan.

The consultation could involve:

  • The use of risk assessment tools
  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Referral to the rapid endoscopy service
  • Investigations following an abnormal test result or high-risk assessment
  • Immunisations – e.g. Hep B, which is effective in preventing liver cancer
  • Personalised lifestyle change plans and advice.

The Clinic is run by Professor Lyndal Trevena, a lead researcher on cancer prevention. Professor Trevena says the clinic offers “access to cutting edge tools, high-level expertise on cancer risk reduction and the most modern approach to it, tailored to individual patients”.

To access the service, ask your GP for a referral or contact patient navigator Susan Harvey on 85140149 or susan.harvey@lh.org.au.

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