6 ways to reduce men’s cancer risk.
There are many factors that contribute to a greater cancer risk for three of the most diagnosed cancer types among Australian men—bowel, melanoma (skin) and lung cancer. But there are also many ways to reduce your risk. Here are Cancer Council SA’s top 6 recommendations to reduce men’s cancer risk.
1. Take steps to quit smoking
Those who seek professional support together with utilising smoking cessation medication (such as nicotine replacement therapy or prescription medication) are eight times more likely to successfully quit smoking. For support and information about how to quit smoking call Quitline on 13 78 48.
2. Follow SunSmart recommendations
Almost all melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. When UV levels reach 3 and above, we recommend protecting yourself in five ways—slip, slop, slap, seek and slide:
1. Slip on a long-sleeve shirt.
2. Slop on SPF 50+ broad spectrum sunscreen and reapply 2-hourly.
3. Slap on a broadbrimmed or bucket hat.
4. Seek shade.
5. Slide on wraparound sunglasses.
3. Take part in bowel screening
Bowel screening can spot the early signs of bowel cancer before you notice signs or symptoms. When we find bowel cancer early, successful treatment is more likely.
Don’t put off the chance to save your life – take the test.
“You never really know what’s going on inside you, I had no symptoms, and everything felt all right so I would never have noticed anything was wrong. It’s scary to think what would have happened if I didn’t do the test.”
Read more from Kingston local, Tim Paget, about why he encourages blokes to do the test when it arrives in the post.
4. Avoid or limit drinking alcohol
Even drinking moderate amounts of alcohol increases the risk of some cancers. The type of alcohol you drink makes no difference. All forms of alcohol increase the risk of developing some cancers, including cancers of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. Australian alcohol guidelines recommend drinking no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
What is a standard drink? One standard drink has 10 grams of pure alcohol. Some examples of standard drinks include:
• 100 ml wine (13 per cent alc/vol)
• 30 ml spirits e.g. whiskey, rum, gin, vodka (40 per cent alc/vol)
• 1 South Australian pint of light beer (2.7 per cent alc/vol)
• 1 South Australian schooner of full strength/regular beer or cider (4.9 per cent alc/vol)
5. Eat a healthy, balanced diet
following these nutrition guidelines.
A healthy, balanced diet will give you more energy for everyday life and can help reduce the risk of some cancers.
While there is no one food on its own that can protect against cancer, a healthy diet overall may protect against some cancers including cancer of the bowel, liver, oesophagus (food pipe), lung and stomach.
• Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from the five food groups.
• Eating plenty of high fibre foods, including fruits, vegetables and wholegrain breads and cereals. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help to reduce the risk of many cancers, including bowel cancer.
• Limiting consumption of food and drinks that are high in fat, sugar, and salt (and low in nutritional value)
• Avoiding processed meats such as ham, bacon, and salami.
• Limiting your consumption of lean red meat to a small palm-sized serve up to three to four times per week.
Eating a fibre-rich, well balanced diet can also help to maintain a healthy body weight and a waistline of no greater than 94 cm for men, which is also linked to a lower risk of cancer.
Need some inspiration to get you started? Check out our collection of healthy recipes.
6. Get active
Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of some cancers, including bowel cancer, and can also help you maintain a healthy weight and a waistline of no greater than 94 cm (for men).
Aim for at least one hour of moderate intensity physical activity or 30 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity on five or more days per week.
For more information on how you can reduce your cancer risk, visit cancersa.org.au/prevention/lifestyle-factors or call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to speak to an experienced cancer nurse.