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Cancer is a disease that happens when cells in a person’s muscles, bones, organs or lymph nodes grow at a rapid or abnormal rate. This cell growth creates lumps or tumor. Some tumors do not cause cancer (benign) while others are cancer causing (malignant). Cancerous tumors can travel through a person’s blood stream or lymphatic system to other parts of the body.
Cancer is named after the part of the body where the tumors began.
Reduce your cancer risk

There are small changes you can make in your lifestyle to reduce your risk of developing cancer.

  • Be a non-smoker and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Keep a healthy body weight.
  • Be active and eat well.
  • Know the risks of alcohol. The less you drink, the more you reduce your risk.
  • Protect your skin. Be sun safe and do not use tanning beds or lamps.
  • Get enough vitamin D from the sun, supplements and your diet.
Early detection of cancer
The earlier cancer can be identified and diagnosed the better the chances are a person, with appropriate treatment, will have a positive outcome from the disease. The health unit provides information and support for provincial awareness campaigns that highlight the importance of early detection of breast, colorectal and skin cancer.
  • Be aware. Look after yourself.
  • Know your body and watch for signs of cancer.
  • Report any changes in your health to your doctor.
  • Get screened and help find cancer early.
  • Check your family’s cancer history.
  • Understand how hormones and infections affect your cancer risk.
  • Get rid of harmful substances at work and at home.
Tobacco-related cancer
The use of tobacco products is strongly linked to the development of cancer. In Canada, it is estimated that smoking is responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths and is related to more than 85% of lung cancer cases.
Quitting now will significantly reduce your risk of cancer
The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more you increase your risk of developing lung cancer. But within 10 years of quitting, an ex-smoker’s overall risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half. If you quit, your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases. 
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Source: Canadian Cancer Society. 'How to reduce risk of cancer' and 'What is cancer'. Retrieved from: