The Irish Cancer Society is urging people to make simple lifestyle changes in 2019, as part of their New Year’s resolutions, to significantly lower their risk of cancer.
The Society is advising that maintaining a healthy weight can make a world of difference to someone’s health and wellbeing, following recent TCD research linking obesity and the body’s ability to fight cancer.
About four in ten cancers are attributed to five lifestyle factors—tobacco, diet, overweight/obesity, alcohol and low physical activity – meaning that 40% of cancers are preventable. This can be done by following the European Code against Cancer.
Kevin O’Hagan, Cancer Prevention Manager with the Irish Cancer Society said, “There is a growing awareness of cancer prevention in Ireland, and it’s positive that so many people are prepared to make changes to significantly reduce their risk of cancer.
“The number one thing people can do to improve their health and lower their risk of cancer is to quit smoking.
“Over 150,000 smokers successfully quit smoking in the last year. Three in every ten cancers are caused by smoking and we would urge all smokers to make quitting their number one resolution in 2019.
“Quitting is really difficult but with the right preparation, support and attitude it can be achieved. We would encourage anyone who wants to give up to call the HSE Quit Team on 1800 201 203 for lots of advice on quitting and information on Nicotine Replacement Therapies. We also run the ‘We Can Quit’ programme in Cork and Dublin, which encourages women to join forces and support each other to quit.”
O’Hagan added: “Another way people can reduce their risk is by getting physically active in 2019. We would advise people to limit their time sitting and aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. You could challenge yourself to get active in 2019 in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. Take on a trek, marathon, run or even an extreme challenge, and get fit while supporting people affected by cancer.”
“Being active and having a healthy diet also contributes to maintaining a healthy weight, which after not smoking, is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention. Up to 40% of certain cancers are attributable to being overweight or obese and with most adults in Ireland now weighing more than they should, it is really important we do all we can to maintain a healthy weight to lower the risk of cancer.
“Our recently published Weight and Cancer Booklet explains why losing weight can cut your risk of some of the most common cancers and gives tips on the small changes you can make to reduce your risk.”
O’Hagan added, “There is also a very real link between alcohol and cancer, with alcohol being directly linked to seven types of cancer. About 900 cancers and 500 cancer deaths are attributed to alcohol every year so I would urge people to be aware of how much they drink and limit their intake as much as possible. The New Year is a great opportunity to change a habit and to radically change our approach to alcohol in this country.”