Cancer prevails as the leading cause of death and illness in Ireland according to the Irish Cancer Society.
Every 3 minutes in Ireland someone gets a cancer diagnosis and every hour someone dies from cancer. They are very scary facts! However here are 10 useful ways to reduce your cancer risk according to the Irish Cancer Society:
- Avoid smoking or using tobacco products – one in three of all cancers is related to smoking. Cut out the cigarettes and cut your cancer risk.
- Avoid second-hand smoke – When non-smokers share a space with someone who is smoking they are being exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Be a healthy weight – Overweight and obesity levels have risen dramatically over the last 50 years. Most adults in Ireland now weigh more than they should.
a. Nearly two thirds (61 per cent) of all adults are overweight or obese
b. Nearly one quarter (23 per cent) of all adults are obese
c. Men are more likely to be overweight than women, but obesity rates are about the same
Most worrying is that a quarter of 5-12 year olds are overweight or obese. Obesity in Irish children is higher than most other northern European countries, but similar to Britain. As a nation, we are getting fatter. And being overweight does not just increase your risk of cancer. It also increases your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases and stroke.
4. Be physically active – Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Being physically active contributes to a healthy lifestyle which can reduce your risk of cancer.
5. Have a healthy diet – Your diet has a powerful effect on your health, including your chance of getting cancer. Limiting your intake of foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat while increasing your consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and pulses can help to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of cancer.
6. Avoid alcohol – Drinking alcohol can cause at least seven types of cancer: those of the mouth, gullet (oesophagus), throat (pharynx and larynx), liver, large bowel (colon and rectum), and breast. Not drinking alcohol is better for cancer prevention. If you do drink alcohol, limit your intake of alcohol. There is no ‘safe’ level of drinking, but the risk of cancer is lower the less alcohol you drink.
7. Avoid too much sun – Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland but it is also one of the most preventable cancers. Avoid too much sun and make sure you are SunSmart by:
a. Seeking shade between 11 am and 3 pm.
b. Covering up by wearing a T-Shirt with a collar and sleeves and a sun hat with that gives shade to the face, neck, head and ears.
c. Wearing wraparound sunglasses with UV protection.
d. Wearing sunscreen with minimum SPF 30.
8. Avoid pollutants – Reduce your risk of cancer risk by protecting yourself in workplace against cancer-causing substances by following health and safety instructions.
9. Avoid Radon – Radon is a natural radioactive gas that occurs in the Earth’s crust. Exposure to radon increases our risk of lung cancer, the more exposure the greater the risk.
Take action to ensure that you are not exposed to radiation in your home through naturally occurring radon.
10. Get vaccinations and be screened for cancer – Few people associate infection with cancer, but nearly one-fifth of all cancers in the world are caused by infectious agents, including viruses and bacteria. Some types of cancer can be found and treated before they cause symptoms. The main aim of cancer screening is to prevent death from cancer. Screening can also make it possible to use less severe treatment methods if the cancer is detected early enough. For some cancers, such as cervical cancer and bowel cancer, screening can actually prevent the cancer from developing.
Friends First paid out a total of €37.5 million on income protection alone last year, of which 20% were cancer related.
Find out how income protection can help you to protect your finances if you are ill for a period of one month or more.