Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors are known to impact overall health and wellbeing.

A number of lifestyle factors are known to impact overall health and wellbeing including affecting the risk of several types of cancer. The good news is you can change some of these to reduce your cancer risks. This includes your diet, how much alcohol you have, smoking and exercise.

It is important to note that lifestyle factors mean non-hereditary factors.

Eat Healthy Food

‘We are what we eat’ and the more fruits and vegetables you include in your diet the better you are going to feel and the healthier you are likely to be long term. Better yet – fruit and vegetables are low in fat and calories and can help keep your weight under control.

Tips for enjoying a wide range of foods each day:

  • Aim for 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit each day.
  • Enjoy red meat only 3 to 4 times a week.
  • Avoid processed meats like sausages, salami, bacon and ham.
  • Aim for 3 portions of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta and noodles).
  • Aim for 1 to 2 portions of lean meat, fish, poultry and/or alternatives.
  • Swap saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods which contain predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Limit salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons per day.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Limit sugar.

How much is enough?

Serving Sizes

1 serve of fruit =
– 2 pieces of small sized fruit (such as apricots, plums and kiwifruit)
– 1 piece of medium sized fruit (such as an apple or orange)
– I cup of fruit salad or canned fruit pieces in natural juice

1 serve of vegetables =
– Half cup of cooked vegetables
– 1 cup of salad
– Half cup of legumes (lentils or chickpeas)

1 serve of meat or fish =
– A piece the size of the palm of your hand

For more information on healthy eating, hints and tips and interesting articles, check out Pink Hope’s health and wellbeing blogs written by Carolyn McAnlis, a Pink Hope Outreach Ambassador and Dietitian, which cover the basics of healthy eating, body weight and cancer risk, estrogen, soy products and much more.


Cut Your Drinking

Do you have an idea of how many alcoholic drinks you have each day?

Alcohol is a group 1 carcinogen – it’s converted into a toxic chemical that damages your DNA and increases your risk of mouth, throat, oesophagus, bowel, liver and female breast cancer. And it doesn’t matter what type of alcohol you drink your cancer risk is the same whether it’s beer, wine, cider or spirits.

If it’s more than the recommendation of less than two standard drinks per day and four on any one occasion it might be time to take action to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume.

What is a standard drink?

Sometimes it’s hard to know what a standard drink actually looks like – so we’ve included information below to help take the guesswork out of choosing what to drink.

Standard Drink

One standard drink equals
285 ml of beer (one glass of beer)
100 ml of wine (one small glass of wine)
30 ml of spirits (one measure of spirits)

Essentially one standard drink in Australia, contains 10 grams of alcohol. All bottles, cans and casks of alcohol are required to say on the label the number of standard drinks they contain.


Tips to help cut your drinking:

  • Be aware of what constitutes a standard drink. Take note of how many drinks you’ve had.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones like sparkling or plain water.
  • Choose low-alcohol beer and/or wine.
  • Eat some healthy food when you drink alcohol.
  • Use water to quench your thirst and sip alcoholic drinks slowly.
  • Offer to be the designated driver when you go out.

Exercise Regularly

30 mins of moderate exercise on most days of the week is recommended for everyone in order to main good health. If you want to lose some weight, you’ll have to bump it up to at least 60 minutes of moderate activity such as brisk walking every day.

What is moderate exercise?
Moderate exercise is any activity causing a slight but noticeable increase in breathing and heart rate. Try brisk walking, mowing the lawn, medium-paced swimming or cycling.

Tips for being active:
Being active every single day is good for your overall fitness, health and wellbeing. It’s not hard to incorporate movement into your everyday life!

  • Book in regular exercise with your friends, you are less likely to ‘sleep in’ when you’ve make a commitment to a friend to meet them for a walk at 6.20am or an early class at the gym.
  • Walk instead of driving to the shops or dropping the kids off to school.
  • Take a walk during your lunchbreak.
  • Ride or walk to work, give the lift a miss and take the stairs.
  • Get off public transport one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Spring clean your house with vigorous vacuuming and mowing the lawn.
  • Limit sitting at your desk – go and talk to a colleague instead of sending an email.
  • Wear a pedometer – this nifty gadget counts your steps – aim for 10 000 per day. It’s amazing how competitive you can become when you challenge your friends or workmates to a step comp!

For more information on the benefits of regular exercise, see Pink Hope’s health and wellbeing blogs written by Carolyn McAnlis, a Pink Hope Outreach Ambassador and Dietitian which includes the benefits of regular exercise.

Quit Smoking

It’s never too late to quit smoking. Smoking is one of the largest causes of preventable disease and death in Australia. The statistics are frightening – more than 10,000 Australians are diagnosed with a smoking-related cancer every year. Don’t join them – give up smoking today.

Do you smoke within 30 minutes of waking or more than 10 – 15 cigarettes a day? If you do there is a high chance you are addicted to smoking. But there is support available to help you quit – you don’t have to do it alone. Your GP and QUITLINE on 13 78 48 can offer support to help you give up smoking.

Two out of three lifetime smokers die from a disease caused by smoking. Quitting smoking today could save your life. You will also feel so much better and reduce you chance of 18 different cancers, heart disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, stroke, type 2 diabetes, asthma and more.

Even if you don’t smoke it’s also important to avoid breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke which can increase your risk of cancer.

Tips to quit:

  • Tell your friends, family and workmates you are going to quit smoking, and start thing of yourself as a ‘nonsmoker’.
  • Check in with your GP who can help with practical advice and support.
  • Call the Quitline on 13 7848 (13 QUIT) and ask for a free Quit pack.
  • There are many strategies for quitting, Quitline, quit apps, gum, medication, and/or cold turkey. Choose the one that suits your lifestyle for the best chance of success.

Further Information
Summary of recommendations taken from Guidelines for Preventive Activities in General Practice 8th Edition