Simple quiz reveals how to slash your risk of killer cancers

AROUND 375,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed in the UK each day.

That accounts for around 1,000 cases each day, with 38 per cent of these being preventable, Cancer Research UK states.

Taking a simple quiz can help you cut your risk of various cancers


Taking a simple quiz can help you cut your risk of various cancersCredit: Getty

But there are things you can to do prevent the killer illnesses and now there is a simple quiz that reveals how you can do just that.

The questions, devised by medics at the charity are designed to help you find out what areas of your life are putting you at risk.

First up, you’ll be ask how often you smoke, that’s because if you do, you’ll be more at risk of cancers such as lung cancer.

The NHS states that if you smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day, you are 25 times more likely to get lung cancer than someone who does not smoke.

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“Frequent exposure to other people’s tobacco smoke (passive smoking) can also increase your risk of developing lung cancer,” guidance states.

There are also other cancers linked to smoking, such as:

  • mouth
  • throat
  • voice box (larynx)
  • oesophagus (the tube between your mouth and stomach)
  • bladder
  • bowel
  • cervix
  • kidney
  • liver
  • stomach
  • pancreas.

The NHS states that smoking can damage your heart and blood circulation, increasing your risk of developing conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, damaged blood vessels and damaged arteries.

How to cut your risk: The charity said there are free services that can help you stop smoking.

“Using prescription medication and support from your free, local stop smoking service, will give you the best chance of stopping for good – but how you chose to quit is up to you,” they said.

Question two of the quiz, will ask you about your body mass index (BMI).

Cancer Research UK states that being overweight or obese (having a BMI above 25), can put you at risk of 13 different types of cancer.

This includes:

  • Breast and bowel (two of the most common cancer types)
  • Pancreatic, oesophageal and gallbladder (three of the hardest to treat cancers)
  • Womb and ovarian
  • Kidney, liver and upper stomach
  • Myeloma (a type of blood cancer)
  • Meningioma (a type of brain tumour)
  • Thyroid

How to cut your risk: The charity states that losing weight can help cut your risk. The NHS offers a range of free tools to help you reach a healthy weight.

Top tips from Cancer Research UK include keeping to a meal routine, cutting down on calories and ‘walking off the weight’.

Other tips include looking at the labels on packets, being cautious with your portion sizes and making sure you get up on your feet throughout the day.

They also advise you to think about the drinks you consume, being wary of those with added sugars.

Guidance states you should focus on your food when eating and not to forget to have five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

Question three is about how much physical exercise you do each week.

If you get under 50 minutes a week in, then you could be at risk of the 13 cancers mentioned above.

How to cut your risk: The experts state: “Think about simple ways you could fit more activity into your routine – even just getting a few extra daily steps in is a good place start.

“You could try seated exercises whilst taking phone calls, using the stairs instead of the lift, or getting off the bus a stop early.

“Set yourself a goal, find a new active hobby, or involve a friend to keep yourself motivated.”

Next up is questions about your sun exposure.

Around one in 36 men and one in 47 women will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime, data shows.

One key risk factor of this is sun exposure and being sunburnt.

Experts state: “Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma skin cancer.”

How to cut your risk: The experts state that it’s important to enjoy the sun safely.

“When the sun is strong, the best way to protect your skin is to spend time in the shade, cover up with clothing and use a sunscreen with at least SPF15 and 4 or 5 stars. Use it generously and reapply regularly.”

As part of the questionnaire, you’ll also be asked how much booze you have on a weekly basis.

Government guidelines state you should have no more than 14 units of alcohol a week (around seven drinks).

Alcohol can cause cancer by damaging our cells and stopping the cells from repairing the damage.

How to get help with your booze

There are plenty of helpful resources and tools to help you with your drinking issues.

Drinkline – Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).

Alcoholics anonymous – free self-help group that offers a 12 week plan

Al-Anon – A group for family members or friends struggling to help a loved one

Adfam  – a national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol

National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa – helpline for children who have parents who are alcohol dependent – call  0800 358 3456

It also affects the chemical signs which can make cells more likely to divide, increasing the risk that cancer will develop.

Booze also makes it easier for cells in our mouth and throat to absorb cancer-causing chemicals.

The charity states that drinking increases your risk of cancer including:

  • Breast and bowel cancer (two of the most common types).
  • Mouth cancer.
  • Some types of throat cancer: oesophagus (food pipe), larynx (voice box), and pharynx (upper throat).
  • Liver cancer.

If you want to lower your risk, you should cut down, and the charity states that keeping track of your units will help.

You should also try and have drink free days and try to alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones.

Medics also suggest not stocking up on booze, using smaller glasses and buddying up with a friend or family member for accountability.

Lastly, you’ll be asked questions about your diet including how many portions of fruit and vegetables you eat each day, wholegrain foods and processed meat.

Various studies have shown that if you eat too much processed meat, such as sausages and bacon, then you’re at an increased risk of cancers, such as bowel cancer.

The experts say a good place to start is by cutting down on the amount you eat each week and swapping it for fresh chicken or fish in some meals.

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As well as this, you could also try having ‘meat free days’, they state.

The experts add that eating a healthy balanced diet can help prevent cancer by keeping your weight down.

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