World Cancer Day: 3 ways to reduce your risk

February 4th is World Cancer Day, an international day marked to raise cancer awareness and encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. While cancer is one of Canada's leading causes of death, the good news is that up to 50% of cancers are preventable; many are treatable when detected early. You can reduce your risk by improving key lifestyle factors, including diet, exercise, and eliminating harmful substances.


Eat well to age well

We all know we should eat our veggies, but did you know that doing so could cut your risk of developing cancer? Along with promoting health and well-being, and helping to control body weight, eating a healthy diet can lower your chances of developing cancer as you age. Are you already eating balanced, nutritious meals and snacks, or does your diet need a makeover? Consider incorporating more vegetables, fruits and fibres into your diet and reduce the amount of red meat and processed foods you eat.


Make time to move

Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of regular physical activity for older adults. Whether participating in a fitness class like Yoga or Pilates, either from home or at a studio or walking outdoors, regular physical activity has numerous health benefits for your body and mind. For instance, having an active lifestyle can help improve balance and decrease your risk of chronic conditions, such as cancer. Try incorporating at least 30 minutes of exercise into your day and reap the benefits while helping to reduce your cancer risk.

Quit smoking

If you’re one of the over one billion people worldwide who smoke tobacco, quitting may be at the top of your wish list. While quitting can be challenging, it is the first step towards better health and can help reduce your risk of developing cancer.


Screening to help detect cancer early

The purpose of screening is to detect abnormalities that point to the potential presence of cancer or pre-cancer before the individual starts to experience symptoms. Decisions around whether to screen, which screening option is best for you, and how to go about it should be made in consultation with your healthcare team. Together you can assess your level of risk, weigh the benefits and harms for you as an individual, and incorporate your preferences. 


See our featured resources below to read more about these evidence-based strategies for reducing your risk of developing cancer.

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DISCLAIMER: Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of these blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations such as social distancing and frequent hand washing. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with current social distancing recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website