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Prioritizing Cancer Prevention

The newly published Third Expert Report, Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: A Global Perspective, from World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), provides a comprehensive analysis of the worldwide body of evidence on preventing and surviving cancer through diet, nutrition and physical activity.

Cancer causes one in six deaths worldwide. Around 40% of cancer cases are preventable through lifestyle changes.

Physical Activity – The recommended type of physical activity is moderate intensity activity, such as brisk walking. It is recommended that you experience physical activity 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Spending more time on your smart phone, watching television or using a computer may be related to weight gain as these are all sedentary tasks. Check with your physician for where your body weight should be. Body fat percentage is highly associated with cancer risk (more so than overall body weight).

Diet - Fast food, processed food, red meat, processed meat, sugary beverages, alcohol and foods preserved by salting may increase the risk of cancer. Many of these foods rarely contain plant-based foods, so they lack naturally-occurring fiber and vitamins. These types of foods also increase the risk of body fatness, which is mentioned above as a risk factor. A Mediterranean diet is highly recommended, along with foods high in fiber, whole grains and coffee.

Smoking - Smoking is responsible for an estimated 30% of all cancer deaths in Canada and it also causes about 85% of lung cancer cases. This isn’t new information. Canada has worked really hard to ensure Canadians are aware of the risks of smoking. Smoking is an addiction but quitting is possible. Talk to your physician about your options for quitting smoking.

Regular Checkups - If you are 30 or younger, it is recommended that you visit every 2 to 3 years; those 30-40 years of age should be getting an annual physical; and all people 50+ should go for annual physicals as well as cancer screening (breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer etc.)

It can be difficult if you do not have a family physician but if you continue going to the same walk-in clinic until you get a family physician, all of your records should be in one place to easily transfer when needed.

Even with advances in treatment, the number of cancer cases is increasing. If you want more information about cancer and cancer prevention, please visit the following sites:

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