Advice on how to reduce your risks
ADOPTING healthy behaviours can cut a person’s risk of developing cancer by a third, the chief of Cancer Australia has said. Ahead of World Cancer Day today, Cancer Australia chief executive officer Helen Zorbas offered Australians advice on how to reduce their cancer risk.
She said quitting smoking and reducing consumption of alcohol and red meat were the best things a person could do to avoid cancer. Cancer is the most burdensome disease in Australia measured by the impact of premature death and living with illness or injury. The Cancer Council of Australia says one in every two people will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85 with 134 000 new cases expected in 2018.
Despite more people dying from cancer than ever before, the number of deaths per 100 000 people attributed to cancer has dropped by 24%. The number of smokers in Australia has also dropped, Zorbas said, but it remains the biggest cancer risk factor.
“In Australia, the proportion of adults who smoke daily has steadily decreased from 22% in 2001 to under 15% in 2014/2015, which is lower than comparable countries such as Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom,” Zorbas said.
“However, smoking still directly contributes to more than 13% of all cancers in Australia, including cervical, bowel, stomach, pancreas and lung cancer and causes almost a quarter of all cancer deaths.
“While quitting smoking can be a challenge for people, it is vital in reducing cancer risk,” she noted. Alcohol consumption and Australia’s obesity epidemic were identified as other major risk factors.
“Australians’ alcohol consumption has fallen markedly since it peaked in the early 1970s, but it is still high when compared to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. In 2013, alcohol contributed to almost 3.500 cancers,” Zorbas said.