THIS International Women’s Day (March 8) Cancer Council is calling on all Queensland women to create a cancer prevention plan, following findings that thousands of female cancer diagnoses could be avoided each year.
Around 3500 Queensland female cancers diagnosed annually are caused by modifiable lifestyle behaviours, such as smoking and too much sun exposure.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said International Women’s Day was a day for women to celebrate their lives by reducing their risk of ill-health.
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“All Queensland women should create a personal cancer prevention plan, in consultation with their GP and Cancer Council’s 13 11 20,” Ms Clift said.
“This International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity for women to prioritise their wellbeing and start thinking about healthy lifestyle behaviours that can prevent illness and disease and enrich quality of life.
“Up to one third of all cancer cases are preventable with a few simple changes to lifestyle factors.
“At the top of our list are eating healthily and exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking, and staying smart in the sun.
“We’re calling on women to take action today to prevent a cancer diagnosis tomorrow.”
Along with preventive measures, Cancer Council Queensland is urging women to include early detection and screening as part of their cancer prevention plan.
Up to 90 per cent of all cervical cancers can be prevented through Pap smears, and regular mammograms can reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer death by 25 per cent, particularly for those aged 50 to 69.
“Get a prevention plan in place and ask your GP to recommend a screening protocol based on your individual risk factors and family history,” Ms Clift said.
“Self-checks are also essential for women. We urge all women to be aware of changes in their body, such as lumps, sores or ulcers that don’t heal, unexplained weight loss, and unusual changes in the breasts and nipples.
“Symptoms of cancer can include nagging coughs, persistent changes in bowel movements, recurring abdominal pain or bloating, and moles that change shape, colour or size.
“Queensland women who experience any of these symptoms should see their GP – early detection could save their life.
“We’re calling on all Queenslanders to mark International Women’s Day by encouraging the women in their lives to create a personal cancer prevention plan.
“Our action today can help to save lives tomorrow.”
Cancer Council Queensland leads a range of initiatives to encourage Queensland women to adopt lifestyles that reduce their cancer risk.
From a weekly radio show designed to boost wellbeing, to downloadable resources and workplace/community education programs, there are a range of ways Queenslanders can get more information about prioritising their personal health.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland, and ways to cut your cancer risk, is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.