Woman dressed in white with a white scarf on head sitting on a white two seater couch with a pink breast cancer ribbon on her lefthand side chest

6 lifestyle choice to help prevent cancer

In Australia, 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer before the age of 85. Today, over 1 million Australians are currently living with cancer or have a previous diagnosis of cancer. Importantly, 1 in 3 of these cancers are completely preventable by making the following six choices for better health:

1. Stopping smoking

Tobacco smoke accounts for around half of preventable cancer deaths. 10 years after quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer is halved.

2. Drinking less alcohol

Alcohol use is associated with an increased risk of eight different types of cancer, including cancer of the liver, stomach and oesophagus as well as bowel and breast cancer.

3. Maintaining a healthy weight

Excess body weight results in increased insulin production which can promote growth of cancer cells. Being overweight increases the risk of 13 different types of cancer.

4. Eating less red and processed meat

According to the Cancer Council of Australia, the risk of bowel cancer goes up by 1.18 times for every 50 grams of processed meat eaten per day. It is therefore recommended to reduce processed meat intake as much as possible, and to limit red meat intake to less than one serve per week.

5. Increasing physical activity

Higher levels of physical activity are associated with lower rates of cancers including bowel, breast and endometrial cancer. When it comes to exercise, the more the merrier. The Cancer Council recommends at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity or 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day to reduce cancer risk.

6. Eating more fruit and vegetables

Eating more fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing cancer of the bowel, lung, liver, oesophagus, stomach and throat. Fruit and vegetables are high in cancer protective substances including vitamins, fibre, and important antioxidants.

1. You hold the cards to reducing your cancer risk. Cancer Council Australia. Available from: https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/1in3cancers/lifestyle-choices-and-cancer/