Cancer Care Ontario Image by: Cancer Care Ontario
An online tool can tell you your odds of getting cancer and guide you to lower that risk.
Ever wondered what your risk for a certain cancer is? Maybe your sister had breast cancer or you smoked back in high school, and you've always questioned how much your history has increased your risk. Well, there's now a new assessment tool that can calculate the probability of you developing the dreaded disease and teach you how to stay cancer-free.
Cancer Care Ontario developed My CancerIQ as a way of educating the general public on ways to combat cancer—and on everyday habits that can increase the likelihood of a diagnosis. The tool offers four assessments—for breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancers—which each take about five minutes to complete.
How does it work?
My CancerIQ evaluates a wide range of risk factors—eating habits, lifestyle, genetic traits and family history—based on the latest scientific evidence. You'll answer questions such as "Are you moderately active for at least 30 minutes a day?" and "Do you eat more than three servings of red or processed meat each week?" You'll also learn why each question is important (physical activity can reduce breast cancer risk, while eating red or processed meat can increase colorectal cancer risk). At the end, you'll learn your risk compared to the rest of the population. For example, the average Canadian 40-year-old woman's risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime is one in nine; based on your responses, My CancerIQ can tell you if your odds are higher, lower, or equal to the average.
Why is it important to know your risk?
We regularly hear of studies on how lifestyle or environment increases or decreases our risk for cancer, but it can be hard to sort through the statistics and figure out how risk factors work together—and which of them have the biggest impact. My CancerIQ tells you, in detail, what's putting you more at risk and what's giving you a leg up in terms of prevention, then offers you the information you need to better your odds of remaining cancer-free—perhaps changing your birth control method or hitting the gym more regularly.
You'll also get links to resources that can help you set up screening appointments, and you'll have a handy report that can help you start a conversation about cancer prevention with your doctor.