Cancer Stats in Alberta

Stats today say that one in two Canadians will end up with cancer in their lifetime. That’s a pretty sobering statistic to say the least. In response, the Alberta government has announced they are going to start taking action on cancer prevention, which is definitely a step in the right direction.

I have spent my entire career advocating for prevention because once we are plagued with a chronic disease there is no turning back. Sadly as humans, in many cases it isn’t until we get the devastating news that we become mindful of our actions and how they have contributed to our current situation. Sad but true. It has been my mission to use my psychology degree and try to figure out how to motivate us humans to be proactive so that we can enjoy a long, enriching quality of life free of disease.

Telling people to eat their fruit and vegetables, exercise regularly, manage their stress and get adequate sleep works for a small percentage of the population but not for most.

I have spent many hours examining my own behavior and those close to me to understand why we choose to do what we do. I have read many research papers on the subject and talked to many psychologists. What I have concluded so far is that we naturally tend to take our health for granted until something happens to alters things. It is hard for us to appreciate poor health when we have never experienced it. Wisdom and empathy certainly come with age, given our many life experiences to draw from, so this concept for someone who is 50 years old is much easier to grasp. But for the younger generations this concept is much more abstract. This is a concern since many cancers are directly related to lifestyle habits that take years to develop.

A common response I get from clients who have been diagnosed with cancer and other chronic diseases is “what can I do to cure my condition?” This is often followed by a long list of regrets and guilt about wishing they could do things all over.

I haven’t figured out what the answer is yet, but I do know we all need to put our heads together to figure it out. Our philosophy at Revive is to focus on breaking down key nutrition and lifestyle strategies for our clients to make it fun and practical. We are not judgemental about lifestyle habits as we are more interested in helping people understand their current situation and are passionate about helping our clients achieve their goals. We have been told our approach is unique to what most people have encountered when seeking help to change.

I hope the initiatives set out by the government will help give Albertans the support they need to help change behaviours and help create communities to support a balanced lifestyle. This is definitely a tall order and requires more than a simple prescription from a doctor.