20
December
2022

Reduce your risk of cancer in 2023 with Cancer Focus NI’s New Year’s Resolutions

Wishing to make the people of Northern Ireland happier and healthier in 2023, local charity Cancer Focus NI is calling on people to make health and wellbeing their New Year New You resolution priority this January.   

Advocating for meaningful lifestyle changes, the charity is looking to remind people of all ages that approximately 40% of all cancers can be prevented by adopting a healthier lifestyle, have regular checks, and use screening services. With the New Year being an opportunity for change, the charity is encouraging local people to make resolutions with a difference by creating realistic goals that will have a lasting impact, not only for themselves, but for their families too.  

Anthony Stuart, Cancer Focus NI Community Wellbeing Manager, encourages everyone to get involved in healthy New Year resolutions: “With the cancer prevalence statistics now showing that 1 in 2 people will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, it is more important than ever to take steps to reduce your risk. The New Year is the perfect time to reflect on your lifestyles and put achievable goals in place; may that be reducing your intake of processed foods, red meat, sugar or alcohol, setting a quit date to stop smoking or making a conscious effort to exercise more. It will inevitably make you feel better and improve your health. Most importantly, it’s never too late to start benefiting from positive lifestyle changes.” 

Wanting to make it as easy as possible, the charity has created five New Year’s Resolution themes to help people plan for the year ahead. 

Introduce a Healthier Lifestyle 

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the ways people can reduce the risk of cancer, and this can be done by eating more fruit and vegetables and reducing intake of processed foods or those that are high in sugar and fat. Complementing this lifestyle change is a commitment to get up from the sofa and get outside for fresh air and exercise.  

With 19th January traditionally being the date in which many people abandon their resolutions, the charity is encouraging people to partner with them on a series of outdoor events kicking off in January 2023. The Night Walk series will welcome people to try out a 5km challenge walk across 3 venues – Castlewellan, Tollymore and Peatland Park – and help support cancer services while doing so.  

Book for all 3 walks you get your third absolutely free: https://cancerfocusni.org/event/nightseries2023/  

Quit Smoking 

With 2,300 deaths caused by tobacco in Northern Ireland each year, giving up smoking is the best gift a person can give to themselves and their wider family. However, as resolutions go, this may be one of the toughest that anyone ever chooses and that is why Cancer Focus NI’s award-winning Stop Smoking service, which is funded by the Public Health Agency, is there to help, with quitting being 4 times more likely by accessing our Stop Smoking Service rather than trying to quit alone. Available for free via some GP practices in Belfast and South East areas, health and wellbeing centres, community, workplaces, and youth settings, the service is completely confidential with specialists on hand to support individuals at each stage of their journey. For information visit www.cancerfocusni.org/smoking. 

Know your Normal 

Cancer can be more effectively treated if it is detected early so throughout 2023, keep an eye or fingertips on any changes to your body. These may include:  

  • Loss of appetite  
  • Difficulty swallowing  
  • Extreme tiredness  
  • Unexplained weight loss  
  • Persistent cough  
  • Change in bowel habits  
  • Changes to a mole 
  • Changes to your breasts  

The symptoms are often caused by something less serious and don’t usually mean that something is cancer. However, knowing your body and what’s normal for you greatly increases the opportunity of finding cancer early and seeing it treated. The general rule of thumb is, if in doubt get it checked out as an early diagnosis often leads to a better prognosis. 

Visit www.cancerfocusni.org/symptoms for more information on common signs and symptoms of cancer. If you are concerned about cancer, you can call the free Cancer Focus NI Nurse Line on 0800 783 3339 (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9am to 1pm) or email  nurseline@cancerfocusni.org. 

Help Someone Living with Cancer 

Make a resolution that will not only impact your own wellbeing but will make a huge difference to someone in your community who is living with cancer. Our volunteer driving service provides an invaluable service for people who cannot drive themselves to and from cancer treatment appointments and have no one else they can rely on.  

Areas in need of volunteer drivers in 2023 include: 

  • Antrim & Newtownabbey Council 
  • Mid & East Antrim Council 
  • Belfast Trust (all areas) 
  • Mid- Ulster area (Magherafelt and Cookstown localities) 
  • South Eastern Trust (all areas) 

If you’re over 21, have a full, clean driving license and access to a comfortable and roadworthy car, email Marion at marionkerr@cancerfocusni.org for more information. 

Champion Cancer Awareness at your Workplace 

Every year, approximately 14,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Northern Ireland. Around 4 in 10 of these cases could be prevented and this is where Cancer Focus NI can help. The charity’s cancer awareness in the workplace service is designed and delivered to support local businesses to help reduce their employees’ risk of cancer. 

This 2023, businesses can speak to the cancer prevention team at Cancer Focus NI about the charity’s award-winning Stop Smoking Support Service or booking a visit from the Cancer Focus Keeping Well Van, a mobile drop-in service offering health checks, cancer awareness and healthy lifestyle advice. Find out more at: https://cancerfocusni.org/cancer-prevention/cancer-prevention-services/