Prevention is the most powerful strategy available to public health and the most cost-effective method for controlling cancer in the long term. Scientific knowledge indicates that around 40% of all cancers can be avoided through prevention. The majority of these cancers are linked to smoking, unhealthy diets or infectious agents.
Certain cancers can be prevented. We already know the benefits that are gained by giving up smoking and increasing daily intakes of vegetables, fresh fruit and high fibre cereals, as well as moderating the intake of high-fat foods and alcoholic drinks, carrying out physical exercise, avoiding excessive weight gain and exposure to sun or other environmental risks, and taking suitable precautions against risks at work.
The European Code Against Cancer is a major benchmark and their advice on primary prevention is currently considered as being that most strongly linked with a genuine reduction in the incidence of cancer. The majority of existing cancer plans base their primary prevention strategies on these ideas and on disseminating them.
1. Don’t smoke If you’re a smoker, try and quit as soon as possible and don’t smoke in the presence of other people. If you’ve never smoked, don’t try it.
2. Avoid becoming overweight.
3. Undertake some brisk, physical activity every day.
4. Increase your intake of a variety of fruit, vegetables and garden produce: eat at least 5 portions a day. Limit the intake of foods that contain fats of animal origin
5. If you drink alcohol, whether wine, beer or spirits, limit your daily consumption to a maximum of two drinks per day for men, or one for women
6. Avoid overexposure to the sun.
7. Strictly adhere to regulations aimed at preventing any exposure to known cancer-causing substances. Follow all health and safety instructions on substances which may cause cancer. Follow the advice of national radiation protection offices.
There are Public Health programmes which could prevent cancers developing or increase the probability that a cancer may be cured:
•Women from 25 years of age should participate in cervical screening.
•Women from 50 years of age should participate in breast screening.
•Men and women from 50 years of age should participate in bowel cancer screening.. .
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