40% of Cancers Preventable by Lifestyle
Yesterday the World Cancer Research Fund released a report that estimates that a third of the most common cancers (not counting those related to smoking) in high-income countries, and a quarter of the most common cancers in lower-income countries could be avoided by making lifestyle change. In the UK, this means that over 40% of bowel and breast cancer cases can be avoided by eating more healthily, exercising and keeping an eye on your weight. The report makes several recommendations; for policy makers, schools, industry and for health professionals but also, as the chair of the report’s panel Professor Sir Michael Marmot, said:
“When people think of policy reports, they often think they are only relevant to governments. But while governments are important in this, the evidence shows that when it comes to cancer prevention, all groups in society have a role to play. This report is relevant to everyone from heads of government to the people who do the weekly food shopping for their family.
We have been fairly specific about what different groups need to do. But the Report’s overall message is that everyone needs to make public health in general, and cancer prevention in particular, more of a priority.”
Those everyday behaviours related to health (like diet and exercise) are one of the areas in which we hope to work in this project. How can we use the technology-rich world we inhabit to help us avoid the diseases that cause us pain and distress?
One response to this is Texting4Health, an event organised by the people behind the persuasive technology discourse, that explored how text messages could be used to improve personal and public health. Seminars given covered such topics as “Value in Public Health Campaigns – Smoking Cessation via SMS Advertising”, “Texting for Weight Management” and “Sweet Talk – Text Messaging Support for Young People with Diabetes”. Have a closer look here.
Does anyone have any stories of using text messages (or twitter) to help them change behaviour?