Reduce your cancer risk with tips from Healthy Peterborough

With one in three of us at risk of developing cancer in our lifetime the Healthy Peterborough team has outlined a number of steps people can take to minimise this risk and try to protect against it.

World Cancer Day takes place on Saturday (4 February 2017) and the Healthy Peterborough team is using this as an opportunity to encourage the city's residents to take part in available screening programmes and make some of the lifestyle changes that can markedly reduce their risk of developing cancer.

Councillor Diane Lamb, cabinet member for public health, said: "Cancer is something so many of us have been touched by, either personally or through close family and friends.

"Medical advances in the treatment available can help many sufferers to a full recovery but early detection is key to this. We'd urge people to do everything they can to improve their lifestyles, like taking up more exercise, thereby reducing their risk of developing this devastating disease as well as improving their overall health."

National screening programmes exist for three of the most common cancers - breast, cervical and bowel. By regularly attending appointments you have more chance of the cancer being detected at an early stage when it is more treatable or could even be prevented from developing at all.

Other steps include giving up smoking, cutting out on alcohol intake and making some dietary changes.  

The risks of smoking are well documented with smoking known to be responsible for one in four UK cancer deaths. Giving up is the only way to reduce this risk and there is plenty of advice and help available to assist with this. Smokers wanting to quit should speak to their GP to maximise their chances of success.

Over 12,800 cases of cancer (around 4% of all cases) are caused by alcohol each year. Alcohol has been shown to increase the risk of seven types of cancer including mouth, upper throat, voice box, food pipe, breast, liver and bowel. It is the alcohol itself which is the cause of this risk by cutting down or sticking to the recommended guidelines this risk can be reduced.

Maintaining a healthy weight and diet is also an important factor in reducing risk with being obese or overweight being linked to many types of cancer. Making a few simple lifestyle changes such as increasing your levels of activity or cutting down on fat, sugar and processed foods can help you lose weight and further reduce your risk of developing cancer.

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health at Peterborough City Council, said: "Cancer can be frightening but by participating in national screening programmes people are giving themselves the best chance of any signs being detected early which is an important factor in successful treatment.

"I'd urge anyone worried about signs or symptoms to visit their GP.

"Quitting smoking, cutting down on alcohol and eating healthily can all help people to reduce their risk of developing cancer. There is plenty of advice on the Healthy Peterborough website, including advice on taking up more exercise, to help you to achieve this."

For more advice about cancer and how you can reduce your risk visit the Healthy Peterborough website.

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