Locally over 300 people are diagnosed with cancer annually. It is estimated that 30-50% of cancers can be prevented and more than 1/2 the cancer deaths can be prevented.
It is possible to change the course of some cancers in a population, including Bermuda. HPV is the cause of almost all cervical cancers. The virus which affects both males and females has also been linked to cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and throat.
In addition to following a healthy lifestyle and cancer screening guidelines, vaccinating against HPV will be a step toward preventing cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anus and throat cancer.
There is strong evidence that an individual’s risk of developing cancer can be substantially reduced by healthy behaviour:
- don’t use tobacco and reduce alcohol consumption
- get sufficient physical activity
- eat healthy foods in moderation
- participate in cancer screenings according to recommended guidelines
- get vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Starting as early as 40 years of age, getting screening tests regularly may find breast, cervical, and colorectal (colon) cancers early when treatment is likely to work best. Lung cancer screening is recommended for some people who are at high risk. Bermuda’s cancer screening guidelines can be found on the Centre’s website (https://www.cancer.bm/cancer-information/bermudas-cancer-screening-guidelines).
Vaccines also help lower cancer risk. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and several other kinds of cancer in both males and females. The hepatitis B vaccine can help lower liver cancer risk.
You can reduce your risk of getting cancer by making healthy choices like keeping a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, avoiding tobacco, limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, protecting your skin and practising safe sex.
Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre provide a series of programmes highlighting healthy lifestyle choices which, together, can make an enormous impact on people’s likelihood of developing cancer and other non-communicable diseases over their lifetimes. Presentations and workshops are provided free to the community and can be requested through the Centre’s website (https://www.cancer.bm/cancer-information/reducing-your-cancer-risk-presentations).
Affording Cancer Screening and Treatment
Affording health care can be challenging, not everyone has health insurance, and in other cases, health insurance may not cover the full cost of a needed service. As a registered charity, Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre believes that everyone should have access to health care. Through the ongoing generosity of the local community, the Centre’s Equal Access fund can help subsidise the cost of mammography, ultrasound, breast and prostate biopsies and radiation therapy treatment at our Centre for those who are uninsured and underinsured.
In addition to the physical illness and emotional distress caused by cancer, the high costs of care is a burden to patients, their families, and to the public. By preventing some of these cancers, the burden of cancer will be reduced, and the number of deaths caused by cancer will decline.