One in three cancer cases could be avoided – here’s how 11



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Around 37,000 cancer cases could be prevented in Australia each year according to the first ever study of cancer incidence and preventable causes in Australia.

The study, funded by Cancer Council Australia and conducted by QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, showed that one in three cancers in Australia could be prevented.

Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Sanchia Aranda, said the ground-breaking research should encourage Australians to be positive about reducing their risk.

“Of 13 identified risk factors, smoking, UV radiation, body weight, poor diet and alcohol caused around 90 per cent of all preventable cancers,” Professor Aranda said. “It’s time to bust the myth that everything gives you cancer and do more to reduce the risks that we know cause cancer.

“The association with smoking is well-known, but the study shows that 7000 new cancer cases a year are also attributable to low fruit and vegetable intake, low fibre intake and eating excess red meat. Eating more fruit, vegetables and wholegrains is a positive step we can take to reduce our risk. These healthier choices also reduce obesity, the cause of 3900 cancer cases in its own right, and balance overconsumption of red and processed meat, which account for a further 2600 cases.

Key findings

  • A total of 32% of all cancers diagnosed in Australia (excluding non-melanoma cancers) were attributed to the 13 cancer risk factors assessed.
  • This translates to up to 37,000 cancers (or one third of all cancers) being preventable each year in Australia
  • 33% of cancers in men and 31% in women are estimated to be preventable.
  • 9 in 10 preventable cancers are caused by just six risk factors: smoking, UV radiation, poor diet, overweight, physical inactivity and alcohol.

Professor Aranda said that people should not worry about fad diets and instead rely on the solid evidence that a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and whole grains, with other foods consumed in moderation, will cut your cancer risk.

“In addition to lifestyle risk factors, we analysed the impact of hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus, HIV and Epstein Barr virus,” Professor Whiteman said. “Hopefully the study will help guide lifestyle change and health policy in Australia, and contribute to the international evidence on cancer prevention.”

Professor Aranda said the findings showed the importance of research and evidence to inform public policy and individual choice. “This is the most comprehensive study of its kind ever published in Australia and it provides clear guidance on cutting your cancer risk. It should help motivate all Australians to take simple steps towards a healthier lifestyle”.

Tell us, what have you changed to reduce your cancer risk?


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  1. This is the comment I made on the Over 60 page on the 5th.

    I do a lot of fly fishing on the flats so that means I’m out in the sun with no shade for up to 10 hours a day. So one is continuously exposed to the sun coming down at you and coming up at you off the water and/or the white coral sands

    I am of Irish decent so have the fair complexion and after growing up in the tropics have had hundreds of SCCs and BCCs removed. The worst was the fluorouracil treatment to my face which kills the SCC/BCC cells and in doing so all of the skin on the face is defoliated. Not pleasant but, fixed the problem.

    So, how do I approach protection? With SPF50 clothes. Initially I wore Columbia type shirts, GoSo Adapta Caps and GoSo gloves. I found the shirts too hot as the shirt itself would get hot so a got a couple of GoSo shirts at the right price. My daughter bought them for me as a pressy. Seven years ago I got introduced to the Buff. Absolutely fantastic for what I do.

    So now I wear duck billed cap, Buff, GoSo shirt and gloves and lightweight polyester long trousers. The only place which is exposed is the 20mm strip across my forehead between my sunglasses and cap and it gets a good dose of Bronze Zinc.

    After a week’s fishing like that I get a very very light tan.
    So now I have approx. 10 plus GoSo shirts, 7 Buffs, 5 pairs of GoSo gloves. The shirts I wear all of the time whether I’m fishing or not. The lite coloured ones get soaked in nappysan prior to each wash. The only time I don’t wear them is when I’m travelling and then I wear SPF50 fishing shirts with all of the pockets as I find them cooler when driving long distances and travelling on aircraft.

    When something better comes along I may change but, in the meantime I’m happy and so is my skin cancer doctor. B|

    4 REPLY
  2. I believe the sun exposure we have as children is where the skin cancers begin. As a kid I hated wearing a hat and sunscreen had not been invented, I was sun burned several times and had “good skin” as I mostly just went brown, a few times skin peeled. I went to the QUEENSLAND Sun Screen Clinic after I’d had a few surgically removed and iced and my skin was cleared. The same day I was visiting a friend and told her and showed her a small spot that was itchy and burning and she applied a black salve CANSEMA to it and immediately it really began to burn. Cansema does nothing to healthy skin, but if there is any kind of skin cancer it burns it out. A small amount of the salve, cover with a dry dressing was off after 24 hours. If there is healthy skin there is nothing. If it is a skin cancer it is already like a blister. Gently wash with water only dry and apply a dry dressing cover and leave for 10 days. if the bandaid comes off just replace it. on the 10th day the cancer comes out stuck to the bandaid. they vary in size. mine then was about as big as a grain of rice. then it healed and all I have left is a slightly lighter patch of skin. I have done dozens since. Some have been very deep and large to about the circumference of a dime but heal out and leave just a lighter skin. Look up “Cansema” from Alpha Laboratories. It is expensive but a small jar lasts a very long time. Even one I had surgically removed many years ago had began to feel weird and one application took care of it, it was really large. The ones I’d had iced came back but Cansema took care of them. There is some bad comments about this because it does Surgeons out of work. It is made from a plant root and I am doing a few every few months. My last GP was fascinated at how well it works.

    1 REPLY
    • I’ve copied what you’ve written and will send it to my daughter, her postman husband, so often sun-exposed, has that type of skin cancer. Thank you for the tip.

  3. Living in the harsh Australian sun we Hv all to take care. As I was brought up in England I am lucky to Hv good skin. I Hv found 50 plus sun cream lather it on as I walk often. Try to do all the right things for my health- so far so good – one of the lucky ones at 62.

  4. Being “blessed” with fair skin and hair and drive a tour coach part time, I get numerous sun spots which sometimes develop and require freezing off.

    My skin specialist advised I try Bio Oil. I use it now and find the sun spots don’t recur and my face skin feels great. I think my Dr has done himself out of a job. Its great on my arms and legs also.

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