Make a resolution to lower your cancer risk

WITH 2015 ending and 2016 about to begin, Cancer Council NSW is encouraging people to make cancer-smart New Year's resolutions as research shows 37,000 Australian cancer cases could be prevented each year largely through lifestyle change.

Australians are urged to quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, move more, eat more fruit and vegetables, be SunSmart and cut down alcohol to reduce cancer risk.

Sarah Royall of the Northern NSW Region of Cancer Council NSW office said this research should be a motivator for locals, as it is predicted that, by 2016, 2551 locals will be diagnosed with cancer in a single year, with 749 deaths expected.

"As we move into 2016, it's time to bust the myth that everything gives you cancer and do more to reduce the risks of behaviours that can give you cancer like smoking, UV radiation, body weight, physical inactivity, poor diet and alcohol," Ms Royall said.

"Setting resolutions for the year ahead can be an inspiring approach for people across Northern NSW to set cancer-smart goals and make their health a priority in the long-term."

1. Quit smoking

One in eight cancers could be avoided if no one smoked. It's never too late to quit. Set a quit date. Get support from your family and friends, speak to your GP, or use nicotine replacement therapy (such as patches or gum) or prescription medication to help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Avoid temptations. Reward yourself. For more information visit http://www.icanquit.com.au or call the Quitline on 13 18 48

2. Protect skin from UV exposure

Australia has among the highest rates of skin cancer and melanoma in the world. Slip on protective clothing, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses when the UV level is three and above

3. Maintain a healthy body weight

Most people don't think of being overweight as a risk factor for cancer however 3,917 cancer cases are attributable to this. Maintain a healthy body weight by eating a healthy diet, watching your portion sizes and balancing the energy (kilojoules) from food and drink with the energy you use up through exercise

4. Be active for at least 30 mins each day

1,814 cancer cases are related to insufficient physical inactivity. Aim for around 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity that makes you puff and pant or 60 minutes of moderate intensity activity, like walking, each day. Find ways to make exercise enjoyable rather than being a chore, such as getting together with friends for a walk, fitness class or swim

5. Consume a healthy diet

7,000 new cancer cases a year are attributable to poor diets including low fruit, vegetable and fibre intake, and eating too much red and processed meats. Ensure you eat a diet rich in wholegrain breads and cereals and enjoy two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day, easily achieved by serving salad or veg with every main meal and starting early by adding fruit or veg at breakfast time

6. Limit alcohol intake

Alcohol consumption is responsible for 3,208 cancer cases each year. If you choose to drink, stick to the national guidelines of no more than 2 standard drinks each day.

To learn more about reducing your cancer risk, visit http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/cancer-prevention



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