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Take action now to reduce your cancer risk


Published: 03/26/2015

by Marcus Johnson

Before cancer makes the first move, take just 10 minutes to complete a questionnaire at and make the changes that could save your life.

Cancer doesn't develop overnight. With regular screening, some cancers can be found before they have a chance to grow and spread. Even better – as many as half of all cancers in Ontario can be prevented by eliminating known risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, and lack of physical activity.

Recently, Cancer Care Ontario, the provincial government's advisor on cancer services, prevention and treatment, launched a new online tool called My CancerIQ that helps determine personal risk factors for breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancer. The tool also provides personalized recommendations for reducing that risk.

In addition to taking the online questionnaire through My CancerIQ, you can take action now to reduce your cancer risk with these tips:

• Colorectal Cancer: Maintain a healthy diet and skip red meat and alcohol. Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer overall, but proper screening and healthy choices can help reduce the risk.

• Cervical Cancer: Quit smoking and go for regular pap tests. Women who smoke are at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer, which is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Every year about 630 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 150 women die from this disease in Ontario.

• Lung Cancer: Quit smoking and avoid breathing in harmful chemicals at work. Workplace exposures may increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Lung cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Ontario and the most common cause of cancer-related death.

• Breast Cancer: Swap that glass of wine for a glass of water. Women who consume alcohol are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer. There is also evidence suggesting that alcohol increases the level of estrogen in the blood, which can stimulate the growth of some tumours.

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