Cancer prevention and early detection
Cancer risk refers to the chance that a person will develop a certain type of cancer. Some factors increase people’s risk of getting cancer while other factors reduce risk. Current estimates indicate that around half of all cancers are due to lifestyle factors and therefore are largely preventable.
Key lifestyle risk factors linked to cancer are:
- poor diet
- smoking tobacco/exposure to tobacco smoke
- high levels of alcohol consumption
- inadequate exercise
- being overweight
- over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation
- exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (DES).
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing cancer. Prevention strategies include:
- Promote a healthy lifestyle by having a healthy diet and weight range and by limiting alcohol intake.
- Reduce risky behaviours by being sun smart when outdoors and stopping smoking.
- Participate in screening programs such as breast, pap smears and bowel cancer screening.
- Arrange an appointment with a doctor as soon as a suspicious symptom if found.
Screening refers to the application of a test to people with no apparent signs or symptoms of the disease in question, to detect precursor conditions or unsuspected disease while a cure is still possible.
The screening test does not diagnose illness but is used to identify people who require further investigation to determine the presence or absence of disease. Current evidence demonstrates that premature death can be reduced through regular Breast screening, pap smears and large bowel screening.