Healthy Lifestyle Key to Effective Cancer Prevention: Dr Doireann O-Leary

Dr Doireann O-Leary
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As World Health Day approaches on April 7th, Dr. Doireann O’Leary, a respected figure with a large Instagram following, shares insights into cancer prevention, emphasizing both non-modifiable and modifiable risk factors. Dr. Doireann O’Leary, a GP in Cork City, advocates for women’s health and general practice. As a provider of long-acting reversible contraception and a registered cervical smear taker, she emphasizes the importance of proactive healthcare measures in cancer prevention.

Non-modifiable risk factors, such as family history of hereditary cancer, underscore the importance of discussing personal medical history with a GP for appropriate screening. Meanwhile, modifiable risk factors offer actionable steps individuals can take to reduce their cancer risk.

  1. Quit Smoking: Smoking is linked to various cancers, and reducing the smoking population can significantly decrease cancer cases. Seeking support from healthcare providers or organizations like is encouraged.
  2. Reduce Alcohol Consumption: Limiting alcohol intake can lower the risk of developing cancer. Opting for non-alcoholic alternatives or engaging in alcohol-free activities with friends can help reduce consumption.
  3. Sun Safety: Avoiding sunbeds and practicing sun safety, such as using self-tan products and wearing protective clothing, reduces the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers associated with excessive sun exposure.
  4. Regular Exercise: Engaging in physical activity lowers the risk of colon and breast cancer. The key is to find enjoyable activities to ensure consistency.
  5. Processed Meat Reduction: Processed meats are classified as carcinogens, akin to smoking and alcohol. Cutting back on processed meat consumption, including ham, bacon, and sausages, reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.
  6. HPV Vaccine Discussion: Discussing the HPV vaccine with healthcare providers can help prevent various cancers caused by the Human Papilloma Virus.
  7. Hormonal Contraception and HRT: While hormonal contraception and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) pose slight cancer risks, they offer benefits, such as reducing ovarian cancer risk and providing essential relief for many women. The risks associated with these treatments can be managed through lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise.

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