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Lifestyle changes influence the risk of cancer – in a positive and negative way

(Vienna 24th September 2012) Lifestyle changes can play a considerable role in influencing the risk of developing cancer later in life. The key negative factors include smoking, lack of exercise and being overweight. These are the words of oncologist Gabriela Kornek from the University Department of Internal Medicine and the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) at the MedUni Vienna in the run-up to the forthcoming European ESMO Cancer Congress being held from 28th September to 2nd October in Vienna under the aegis of the MedUni Vienna.

“When it comes to screening, whether it is through colonoscopy or mammography, Austrians are getting better and taking more responsibility for their health,” says Kornek. “Unfortunately, however, the same cannot be said for prevention through lifestyle changes. We have the highest number of young smokers and the youngest alcoholics.” Studies have shown that by reducing smoking by just 15 per cent and taking 30 per cent more exercise, along with healthy nutrition incorporating lots of fruit and vegetables, a significantly better prognosis can be achieved in terms of the likelihood of developing cancer later in life.

Austria comes top for cancer treatment
Anyone who develops cancer in Austria can be assured that they will receive the best treatment: “We really are the number one when it comes to treating cancer," says Kornek. In Austria, 61 per cent of cancer patients on average live longer than five years, with only Sweden - achieving a figure of 62 per cent - faring better in the European league tables. This fact also highlights the top position occupied by Austrian oncology in an international comparison.

The Comprehensive Cancer Center, a joint institution operated by the Vienna General Hospital and the MedUni Vienna, is also partly responsible for this. It is here that all of the clinicians involved with the treatment of cancer, such as general physicians, surgeons, gynaecologists, orthopaedic surgeons and scientists work closely together. The CCC is also Austria’s national centre of reference for research, teaching and therapy for all types of cancer. Almost 2,000 cases are discussed every year in detail on 22 tumour boards, which are held across all disciplines within the CCC, and the patients’ further management is decided upon by experts. This ensures the very best treatment possible for all patients.

Patient Day at the ESMO Congress
From 28th September until 2nd October 2012, under the aegis of the MedUni Vienna and the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC), the 2012 Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) is being held in the Austria Center. More information: www.esmo.org.
As part of the event, there will be two Patient Days (Saturday 29/9 from 2:15 p.m. and Sunday 30/9 from 9:15 a.m.) held in the Austria Center, where international cancer specialists will be delivering speeches on subjects such as patients’ rights and obligations, personalised medicine in cancer therapy, challenges in patient/doctor communication, rare forms of cancer and access to clinical studies. The participation fee is EUR 12.

Cancer School: learning more about cancer
For anyone who wants to find out more, the MedUni Vienna’s Comprehensive Cancer Center offers the Cancer School for patients, their relatives, interested individuals and people who encounter cancer in their jobs and professional lives. The Cancer School provides basic or advanced courses as well as field trips for people to learn more about cancer – from basic therapeutic strategies, early detection and aftercare to theoretical and clinical cancer research. Information: www.cancerschool.at