Online tool could prevent some cancer incidents in Ontario

At the London Spring Home and Garden Show this weekend, you can get tips on gardening, home care and cancer prevention.

The Southwest Regional Cancer Program, which is one of 14 regional cancer programs created by Cancer Care Ontario, is promoting MyCancer IQ for the first time in the region. MyCancer IQ is an online quiz, which was launched in February by Cancer Care Ontario and the Ministry of Health that assesses a respondent’s relative risk for breast, cervical, lung or colorectal cancer and then gives them a printed version of their results.

The program hopes that Ontarians will take the printed results to their doctor, said Melissa Beilhartz, publicity and marketing specialist for the Southwest Regional Cancer Program. The idea is to put Ontarians on a path toward cancer prevention, she said.

“It’s a great tool to get that conversation started,” she said.

Half of all cancer cases in Ontario could be prevented if Ontarians knew about and acted on lifestyle choices that could prevent cancer such as cutting down on smoking and alcohol consumption, she said.

“A lot of people don’t realize that tie between alcohol and cancer,” Beilhartz said.

While the London Spring Home and Garden show may not seem to be an obvious place to get a cancer risk assessment, the show, which may be attended by thousands of people, affords the best chance to reach the most amount of people, Beilhartz said.

“That was our best opportunity,” she said.

The program hopes that for everyone that it reaches, the evaluation will give them more autonomy over their health and give them more control of their future, she said.

“The goal is to empower people to take more control of their health,” Beilhartz said.

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