When a child develops cancer it’s unlikely you or your child could have done anything to prevent it.
Certain types of cancers are not preventable; however, educating your family, making healthy lifestyle choices and setting a good example will reduce the risks of those that are.
Teaching your children at a young age about lifestyle-related risk factors (such as smoking) and cancer-prevention strategies (practise sun safety) can help them adopt lifetime habits and lower their risk of getting cancer later in life.
Primary prevention strategies can reduce the risks of cancer for you and your kids: establish healthy behaviours, keep immunizations up to date, and seeing your health-care provider.
- Preventing tobacco-use: 9 of 10 smokers tried tobacco before the age of 18 years, so one of the biggest impacts you can make to reduce your kid’s risk of cancer is to ensure they never start smoking
- Reducing sun exposure: a few serious sunburns as a child can increase the risk of skin cancer as an adult, so seek shade, wear protective clothing, use hats and sunglasses, and wear sunscreen when outdoors
- Having a balanced diet and staying physically active: setting your kids up with healthy eating and lots of physical activity will reduce their risks of cancers in later life
Parents can help enforce health behaviours by:
- Setting an example with your own healthy lifestyle choices
- Talking with older children about using tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
- Not smoking tobacco, or cannabis, not vaping, and avoiding exposure of second-hand smoke to your kids
- Consuming only a moderate level of alcohol
- Practising sun safety
Some vaccines can protect against cancer. Get your kids immunized against HPV (human papillomavirus). Contact Lambton Public Health to talk with a Public Health Nurse about immunizations, including HPV.
If you have a personal or family history of cancer or certain diseases, you or your kids may be at greater risk. Talk with your health-care provider if you have concerns about your child.
Learn ways to prevent cancer for you and your family.