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Reduce The Risk

The reality is that 1 in 3 people in our community will receive a cancer diagnosis. And, by 2010 that number is expected to increase to 1 in 2. (source: Cancer Cancer Ontario)

The Cancer Foundation has put together a series of information-based lectures aimed at giving local residents the information they need to act now and Reduce the Risk.

Before we talk about risk factors, it's important to understand cancerous cells and what causes them.

While some cancer causing risk factors are out of our hands — heredity, pollution and infection — there are others that can be controlled. By acting now you can help Reduce Your Risk of developing this devastating disease.

 

Your Health Risk - Breaking Down the Numbers

Reduce your risk

The biggest piece of the pie is category described as "other". That breaks down to four simple things: smoking, and diet are key factors along with lack of exercise and alcohol consumption.

Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking before middle age avoids much of the lifetime risk incurred by continuing to smoke. Within 5-9 years after quitting, the risk of contracting lung cancer is significantly reduced.

From the day you quit smoking, your risk of developing lung cancer starts to decrease. However, it will never be as low as if you had never smoked.

You can download " On the road to quitting" from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca. Follow the healthy living link. Alternatively speak to your Doctor. They will be able to help develop a plan for you.

If you don't smoke, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising are two of the biggest things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer.

Healthy Diet

Healthy eating is not about staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it's about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible.

Jumping on the scale isn't the only way to determine if you are at a healthy weight. How much fat you are carrying and where and what type, are "healthy" weight indicators.

Body Mass Index is generally measured in a clinical setting although you can calculate it yourself. The only disadvantage is if an individual has a lot of muscle mass, they may have an artificially high BMI.

Your BMI should be between 18.5 and 25 resulting in a reduced risk of developing health problems. However, even if you are in this range but do not balance your diet and exercise, you may still be at risk.

BMI Scale
Underweight BMI lower than 18.5 = Increased risk
Normal Weight BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 = least risk
Overweight BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 = increased risk
Obese class I BMI between 30.0 and 34.9 = high risk
Obese class II BMI between 35.0 and 39.9 = very high risk
Obese class III BMI is higher than 40.0 = Extremely high risk

 

Fruits and Vegetables

Grains Dairy

 

In order to improve your overall health here are a few suggestions that might work for you. But, your best bet if you are in doubt is to contact your doctor and come up with a plan that's tailored to you.

  • Eat 5 or more servings of a variety of vegetables & fruits each day.
  • Include vegetables & fruits at every meal and for snacks
  • Eat a variety of them not just 1 or 2 types.
  • Limit potatoes and other starchy vegetables. These should not count towards the 5 servings.
  • Choose 100% juice if you are drinking fruit or vegetable juices. Remember they may be fairly high in sugar so don't drink too much!
  • Choose whole grains over refined and processed foods.
  • Whole grains are an important source of vitamins and minerals. They're higher in fiber, and certain minerals & vitamins than processed flour products.
  • Limit consumption of refined carbohydrates, including pastries, sweetened cereals, soft drinks & sugars
  • Limit consumption of red meats.
    These tend to be higher in fat than other meats. 1 gram of fat contains more than twice the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates. Eat fish or white meats as an alternative.
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes — foods high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, low in fat, and free of cholesterol. Try to get fresh, local produce.

 

Portion Control: Making the Most of Your Meal

Alcohol Consumption

According to the latest reports drinking alcohol directly effects your risk of developing cancer.

  • Can cause cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, eosophagus, liver and breast.
  • May also be related to an increased risk of colon cancer.
  • Combined with tobacco there is a far greater risk.
  • Your risk increases substantially if you drink more than the recommended amount per day.
  • No more than 2 drinks a day for men & 1 drink a day for women

Many of you will be aware of the amount of sugar in fizzy drinks, however also be wary of fruit juices. Some have as many as 8 teaspoons of sugar per bottle. If you are going to drink fruit juice, ensure it is 100% juice and do not drink more than 3/4 cup a day.

Water: Our bodies are about 75% water. It is a vital part of a healthy diet. Water helps flush our systems, especially the kidneys and bladder, of waste products and toxins.

Regular Exercise

Part of a healthy lifestyle is making sure you are getting active.

Physical Activity acts in a variety of ways to impact cancer risk. Regular activity helps maintain an healthy body weight. Also the effect that activity has on the bodies functions are believed to reduce risk. E.g. colon cancer. Movement of food is accelerated through the colon reducing the time mutagens may be in contact with the cells.

How often should you exercise?

Adults: moderate activity at least 30 min, 5 days a week

Children & Adolescents: moderate to vigorous activity at least 60 min, 5 days a week

Here are some examples of types of exercise taken from the American Cancer Society guidelines. Moderate activities are those that require effort equivalent to a brisk walk. Vigorous activities generally engage large muscle groups and cause and increase in heart rate, breathing depth and frequency and sweating. For those of you who do not exercise regularly you should build up gradually to avoid injury.

If the thought of circuit training is all too much, at the very least, reduce sedentary behaviour — use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or bike to work if possible, go for a walk at lunch, wear a pedometer to see how far you walk each day. The recommended amount is 10,000 steps.

 

Stay in Shape: The Benefits of Regular Exercise

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