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Do Albertans Know that Prevention is the Best Cure for Cancer?

Justine Klettke
Alberta Health Services believes that many forms of cancer are actually preventable. That’s why they have launched their campaign Alberta Prevents Cancer to help to educate Albertans on how lifestyle choices really can affect chronic disease outbreak and prognosis.

Alberta prevents cancer The site includes a list of all the types of preventable cancers. And the statistics are quite alarming. Up to 85% of all lung cancer cases in Alberta could have be deterred through making healthier lifestyle choices. These of course include refraining from tobacco use and implementing an exercise plan. Also though Alberta Health Services reports that expose to radon gas has accounted for 17% of the new cases. The group recommends getting a radon test to ensure that one’s own residential area is not affected. More information regarding radon reduction can be found at the Canadian government’s website.

Also, incidences of breast cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, oral cancer, endometrial cancer and melanoma are high on Alberta Health Service’s list of cancers that affect Albertans that could have been prevented. One of the most startling findings is that 100% of the instances of cervical cancer are absolutely preventable. This finding points to the importance for women to get their regular pap smears. And this also shows that women are not all accessing Alberta’s health services for these procedures. The result of procrastination could be deadly.

To a lesser extent, there have been certain cases of pancreatic cancer, prostrate cancer, and kidney cancer that would have been preventable by avoiding risk factors.

With all this information out there regarding prevention for cancer, it is vital that Albertans educate themselves. Alberta Innovates Health Solutions manages the funds from the Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund (ACPLF) on behalf of Alberta Health [1]. Although millions are drawn from the ACPFL each year to help educate the Albertan public, are we really listening to the advice that our tax dollars and donations are dedicated towards teaching us?

cancer statistics The government of Alberta funds Alberta Health Services as well as Alberta Innovates Health Solutions. Together these two organizations work together to work on ‘Alberta’s Strategic Approach to Wellness’, with the last issue put out by the Alberta government in 2013 [2].

The document lays out research from the experts who say that only 15% of an individual’s health is due to genes and biology. This means that 85% of a person’s health is determined by the choices they make and the environmental hazards that they are exposed to. And the document further highlights that cures to diseases are actually underutilized by the Albertan population. As highlighted by the rates of cancer that were actually preventable above, this makes sense.

There is in fact a cure already made available to thousands of Albertans. It is affordable and attainable. And the cure we have is prevention through lifestyle and education. Let’s use the 3% of extra spending that the government reported in 2013 as a pondering point. Maybe in the future, there could be a decrease in necessary Alberta health expenditures because less people are being admitted for cases of cancer that could have been prevented.
Justine Klettke October 23, 2016

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