Reason #1: Preventing cancer is easier than you think
In 2015, approximately 76,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in Ontario and about 28,500 Ontarians died from cancer. Many people assume cancer can’t be prevented. But studies have shown that in countries similar to Canada, up to 50 percent of cancers could be prevented by changes in risk factors related to behaviours (e.g., tobacco use, alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity) and to occupational and environmental exposures.
Reason #2: Awareness sparks action
Understanding the factors that affect your cancer risk is an important first step on the path to a healthier future. While you can’t change some things, like your age or your family history, there are many other factors you can control.
Smoking, for example, is responsible for nearly a quarter of cancer deaths worldwide and is the leading cause of premature death in Canada. Although most people know that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, not everyone is aware that it also increases the risk of other types — such as colorectal, cervical, liver and bladder cancer.
For many people, knowing the impact their behaviours have on their cancer risk is a strong incentive to make positive changes.
Reason #3: Screening saves lives
For several forms of cancer, regular testing can make it possible to detect changes that could lead to cancer or catch cancer in its earliest stages. Referred to as screening, this sort of testing is an important part of reducing the burden of cancer in Ontario. For example, if colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is caught early by regular screening, there is a 90% chance it can be cured.
The My CancerIQ website will help you understand whether you could benefit from cancer screening. Experts have estimated that we could cut the number of cancers in the province by half if most Ontarians were regularly screened for cancer and made healthier choices in their daily lives.
Reason #4: It’s about more than cancer
It may help to know that making positive lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of more than just cancer.
Most of the diseases responsible for serious illness in Ontario – such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and diabetes – share many of the same risk factors. So the changes you make to reduce your risk of cancer can also help decrease your risk of other chronic diseases. The payoff? You increase your odds of living a longer, healthier life.
When you finish an assessment, be sure to save, print or email your personalized risk assessment report and action plan. You may also want to share your report with your doctor or nurse practitioner. Together you can decide how to move forward towards a healthier future.