At least one third of cancers are preventable. It is never too early or too late to take action.
The following simple steps can help you lower your cancer risk:
- don't smoke
- eating a healthy diet of whole grains (e.g. brown rice, rolled oats, brown bread), pulses (e.g. lentils, kidney beans), vegetables and fruits
- limiting foods high in sugar or fat and avoid sugary drinks
- avoiding processed meat (e.g. ham, frankfurts, salami), limit red meat and foods high in salt
- maintaining a healthy body weight
- exercising regularly
- avoiding too much sun and use sun protection, such as wearing long sleeves, a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and SPF30+ or higher sunscreen
- limiting alcohol intake to no more than two standard drinks per day, and
- if possible, have the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine before you become sexually active to protect against HPV strains that cause most cervical cancers – both men and women should have the vaccine.
Cancer screening programs help to detect cancer early, increasing the chances of successful treatment.
There are three cancer screening programs available in Tasmania:
- breast screening for women over 40 years of age
- bowel screening for men and women between 50 and 74 years of age
- cervical screening for women between 18 and 70 years of age.
If you are in the target group for these programs, it is strongly recommended that you participate.
Detecting cancer early provides more treatment options and increases survival rates.
For example, detecting bowel cancer early can increase your survival rate from 60% to 90%. Around nine out of ten people diagnosed with bowel cancer in its early stages will survive. If you notice any unusual changes to your body, it is important to discuss these with your doctor. While it may not be a sign of cancer, it could just save your life.