By Michelle Brokops, PSP Ottawa Health Promotion –
There are many known risk factors for cancer. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, it is estimated that about one-third of cancers can be prevented by eating healthy, being active, making healthy lifestyle choices and maintaining a healthy body weight…all things we can control.
Here are a few simple steps to help reduce your risk:
- Eat healthy by following Canada’s Food Guide and eating a variety of foods. A healthy diet includes lots of vegetables and fruit, and less fat, sodium, sugar, processed foods. Don’t forget to get your fibre, since a high-fibre diet protects against colorectal cancer. To increase your knowledge and awareness of healthy eating register for our Healthy Eating 101 or Weight Wellness Lifestyle
- Be physically active and decrease sitting time. In addition to reducing some types of cancer, the health benefits of physical activity include improved fitness, maintenance of a healthy body weight, and a sense of well-being. Even if you exercise regularly, prolonged sitting may increase your risk of cancer! Here are a few tips to get active and sit less: try getting up and moving every 20-30 minutes (set an alert or timer), take the stairs instead of the elevator, have a walking or standing meeting, go for an evening walk alone or with your family, get off the bus a few stops earlier, and register for the Ottawa Health Promotion Pedometer Challenge.
- Be a non-smoker and avoid second-hand smoke. It has been estimated that smoking is responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths. Take a step toward being tobacco free and register for BUTT OUT: the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) tobacco cessation program.
- Find healthy ways to manage stress. Try a simple stress management technique such as deep breathing or a 5-minute walk to manage your stress daily. To learn more about the stress response, stress management techniques and strategies to help you manage your stress register for our Stress: Take Charge workshop.
- Limit Follow Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (LRDG) to help you reduce your immediate and long-term alcohol-related harm. The Guidelines recommend no more than two drinks a day, 10 per week for women, and three drinks a day, 15 per week for men, with an extra drink allowed on special occasions. The less you drink, the more you reduce your risk of cancer. For more information visit the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse website: www.ccsa.ca , or register for our next Alcohol, Other Drugs, Gambling & Gaming Awareness (AODGGA) workshop for military supervisors.
- Be safe in the sun. Prolonged exposure to the sun increases your risk of getting skin cancer, particularly if you spend a lot of time near sand, water or snow. On the bright side, there are many ways to lower the risk of developing skin cancer while still having fun in the sun. Here are Health Canada’s recommendations on reducing sun exposure: use a sunscreen with a high SPF 30 or higher and reapply every two hours – don’t forget your lips, they need protection too, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and seek shade.
Take the steps today during cancer month to create a healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of cancer!
This post is also available in: Français (French)