1. Make it a habit to check your skin for changes at least every three months to catch skin cancer early. If you notice a mole or freckle which changes over a period of months, if it grows in size, changes shape, becomes irregular in outline, lumpy, or becomes persistently itchy, see a doctor.
Don’t forget to check underneath your armpits, your inner legs, ears, eyelids, hands and feet. Use a comb to move sections of hair aside and inspect your scalp.
2. Stop thinking that social smoking is ok. Several recent studies have shown that using even small amounts of tobacco (in some cases as low as one to four cigarettes per day) significantly increases the risk of harmful health effects including heart disease, cancer and premature death. If you are a smoker, make a life changing decision today and contact the Quitline on 137848.
3. Apply sunscreen SPF30+ to all exposed body parts before you head out the door to help prevent skin cancer, and don’t forget your hat and sunglasses.
4. Having a pap smear is a 10 minute test that happens only once every two years but it can save your life. They are the simplest way of identifying cancerous and precancerous cells of the cervix. If it’s been more than 2 years since your last pap smear, make an appointment with your doctor.
5. Rev up your exercise levels today. Some of the benefits of moderate physical activity include halving the risk of coronary heart disease, halving the risk of colon cancer, lowering the risk of diabetes, blood pressure, osteoperosis as well as improving mental help.
All you need is minimum 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical exercise on most days of the week. This activity can be accumulated in three, 10-minute sessions through a day if desired.
6. Learn how to look for lumps.
Women: a breast examination should be performed once a month, preferably at the same time in your menstrual cycle. If you are unsure of how to examine your breasts, ask your doctor or women’s health nurse to take you through a simple how to do it.
Men: If found and treated early, testicular cancer can be cured in almost 100% of cases.
From puberty onwards all men should examine their testicles to establish what feels normal for them and see their doctor if they notice any of the following: a hard lump on the front or side of the testicle, swelling or enlargement, pain or discomfort in the testicle or scrotum, an unusual difference between once testicle and the other or a heavy dragging feeling in the scrotum.