EDMONTON – New Alberta Health Services statistics show nearly half of cancer cases in the province are preventable.
About 45 per cent of cancer cases are related to factors such as smoking cigarettes, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating, and alcohol use, according to AHS.
“Our new data shows that we could avoid about 6,700 new cancer cases every year if we work together on a short list of factors we can change,” Dr. Verna Yiu, interim AHS president and CEO, said.
AHS calls the study the most comprehensive of its kind in Canada and represents the first time in Alberta that cancer statistics have been broken down to show the impact of lifestyle choices on cancer risk.
“Alberta’s population is continuing to grow,” Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said. “At the same time, our population is growing older. It’s a combination that is putting increasing pressure on our health system, so it is important to look at some of the factors that are within our control in helping protect our health.”
Those who were involved in the study point out that improving diet or lifestyle doesn’t eliminate the risk of cancer but it does reduce the risk.
The new data allows Albertans to view a specific cancer and understand the factors linked to it.
The Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute received a four-year grant in 2014 that will allow the study to be expanded across the country.
“When it comes to cancer, people tend to think it’s all a matter of the genes we inherit, or that the list of things that cause cancer is so long and outside our control that it’s not worth bothering. These findings show that’s simply not true,” Dr. Gerry Perdy, senior medical officer of health for AHS, said.
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