12 Ways to Reduce Your Cancer Risk
Cancer specialists and scientists from across Europe compiled the code based on the latest scientific evidence on cancer prevention. It consists of twelve recommendations that most people can follow without any special skills or advice. The more recommendations people follow, the lower their risk of cancer will be.
- 1. Do not smoke – one in three cancers is related to smoking. Cut out cigarettes.
- 2. Avoid second-hand smoke – keep your home and workplace smoke-free.
- 3. Be a healthy weight – have a healthy body weight by being physically active and eating a healthy diet.
- 4. Be physically active every day – aim for at least 30 minutes for physical activity every day.
- 5. Have a healthy diet – eat fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses. Limit foods high in sugar, salt and fat. Avoid processed meat and limit red meat.
- 6. Avoid alcohol – cut back or avoid alcohol altogether.
- 7. Avoid too much sun – be SunSmart - protect your skin when outdoors and avoid sunbeds.
- 8. Pollutants – protect yourself in the workplace and follow health and safety instructions.
- 9. Avoid Radon - Find out if you are exposed to radiation from naturally high radon levels in your home. Find out more information on radon levels from the Environmental Protection Agency.
- 10. Advice for women – breastfeeding is proven to reduce the risk of cancer. HRT is a hormonal drug for menopausal symptoms which increases risk of certain cancers. Limit HRT.
- 11. Get vaccinations - some cancers are spread by viruses and bacteria. Ensure your children take part in vaccination programmes for Hepatitis B (for newborns) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) (for girls over 12 years).
- 12. Get Screened – screening is checking for cancer or conditions that may lead to cancer in people that may have no symptoms. Take part in organised cancer screening programmes for bowel cancer (men and women), breast cancer (women) and cervical cancer (women). Visit www.screeningservice.ie.
Over 1 in 4 cancers can be prevented by following the WHO’s European Code Against Cancer, which has twelve recommendations that almost every one can follow. The more recommendations people follow, the lower their risk of cancer will be.
European Code Against Cancer, developed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the European Commission 2014, aims to inform people about actions they can take for themselves or their families to reduce their risk of cancer.
Take Care in the Sun
Prevention is the key message in relation to skin cancer and this begins in childhood with the single most important message – Do not get sun burnt.
We all need to remember to Slip, Slap, Slop and Wrap during the warm weather:
- Slip on a loose tee shirt
- Slap on a wide brimmed hat which covers the back of the neck
- Slop on sunscreen
- Wrap on sunglasses
The main cause of skin cancer is believed to be over-exposure to the sun. The overuse of sunlamps and sunbeds may also be contributory factors.
Skin cancer is simple to treat if diagnosed early and people must assess and check their moles regularly. Please contact your GP immediately if you notice any skin changes.
Use the following ABCDE to check your moles:
- A – aysmmetry – one part of the mole is different to another part
- B - borders have become irregular or uneven
- C – colour is changing or there are 2 or more colours in the mole
- D – diameter is more than 6 mm
- E – evolution i.e. its changing