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Online modules target students for cancer prevention

Oct 11, 2016 |

[youtube width=”1280″ height=”534″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLXBLFjhUgE[/youtube]

New resources are targeting UBC students for cancer prevention, providing advice and tips about lifestyle choices that could help prevent cancer.

About half of cancers potentially could be prevented, according to the Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention, based in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC.

Centre researchers and staff have developed ‘Cancer Prevention 101’, six online modules providing advice about lifestyle choices that can help prevent cancer, such as healthy eating (‘Try to limit red meat, and avoid processed meats’), exercise (‘At least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week can help reduce your risk of colon, breast, and uterine cancers’) and alcohol consumption (‘Try to find healthy outlets to cope with stress, such as going for a walk, or doing yoga’).

Melissa Ashman

Education director Melissa Ashman

The modules target UBC students, providing tips specifically for those at the Vancouver campus, such as places to buy fresh vegetables (UBC Farm Markets) and links to UBC Health Services’ stress busting advice, as well as quizzes, videos, and links to further information, such as the Canadian Cancer Society.

The content is evidence-based, and collates some well-known – in cancer prevention circles – facts, presenting them in a student-friendly way, said Centre education director Melissa Ashman.

University could be a time of great change, and a period when students formed habits for a lifetime, she said. “Healthy habits adopted in university could prevent cancer in the long term, and while change can be hard, the modules have been designed to provide easy options for taking small steps.”

“It’s never too early or too late to start thinking about preventing cancer.”
Education director Melissa Ashman

Carolyn Gotay

Professor Carolyn Gotay

Centre director Professor Carolyn Gotay noted that disturbing recent trends showed increasing numbers of young adults were smoking cigarettes and binge drinking.

“These videos provide users with tools that can help to reverse these trends and prevent cancer in the future.”
Professor Carolyn Gotay

The modules were user-tested by six students at the Vancouver campus and six at the Okanagan campus. Angelica Leon, a Master of Science student at the School of Population and Public Health, provided feedback on the modules in late July, and said they provided useful information in an engaging way, with enough information to get the facts without boring readers.

Mrs. Leon said students were making decisions for themselves about lifestyles, and it was important that these were smart decisions when it came to subjects such as healthy eating.
“It’s really important to start making these decisions young.”

Another tester was doctoral student Molly Sweeney Magee, who said the modules were a good way to start encouraging students to think about their habits now, and how these could affect their future cancer risks.
“Any reminder is helpful as well, to try to be healthy and be cognizant of future cancer risk.”

The modules provided key information with links to extra information, which was a good balance, Ms. Sweeney Magee said.

To access the modules, click here.

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