Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the most beneficial things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. If you are going through cancer treatment, this can help to reduce symptoms, improve recovery, and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence
Here are Cancer Council Queensland’s recommendations to ensure you are practicing healthy behaviours:
Nutrition and physical activity
Eating well and being physically active is important for everyone, and especially important to those who have been diagnosed with cancer or have finished treatment. Throughout the phases of cancer treatment and recovery, it’s important that you adapt your nutritional needs to help cope with changes to your body. We recommend enjoying a wide variety of nutritious food from the five food groups every day and limiting your intake of alcohol and foods high in saturated fat, sugar and added salt. People with cancer should be as physically active as their abilities and condition allow, even a few minutes of exercise is better than none at all. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program, particularly if you have persistent treatment-related side effects.
It may not come as a surprise, but if you smoke the best thing you can do for your health is to quit. Smoking remains the largest preventable cause of cancer and is attributable to 16 different types of cancer. To start your quit journey, or to support someone you know to quit, we recommend you call Quitline on 13 78 48 to speak to a trained councillor.
Sun protection is required when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation level reaches three or higher. In Queensland, this is all-year round. Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia, but almost entirely preventable by practicing SunSmart behaviours.
For the best protection against harmful UV, use all SunSmart steps, including:
• Slip on clothing which covers as much skin as possible
• Slop on SPF 30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
• Slap on a broad-brimmed, legionnaire or bucket style hat
• Seek shade where possible
• Slide on sunglasses which meet the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1067
Finding cancer early greatly improves the chances of successful treatment. If you notice any unusual or persistent changes to your body, we recommend you visit your doctor.
Some symptoms to look out for include:
• Lumps, sores or ulcers that don’t heal
• Moles that have changed shape, size or colour
• Blood in a bowel motion
• Persistent changes in toilet habits, including urinary problems or changes
• Coughs that don’t go away or show blood
In Australia, there are three National Cancer Screening programs to detect breast cancer, bowel cancer and cervical cancer. To find out whether you are eligible to participate in the programs speak to your doctor or visit cancerscreening.gov.au