The Quantified Self and Your Health
By Alice Peter, Director, Population Health & Prevention Unit, Cancer Care Ontario (@CancerCare_ON)
I’ve recently become interested in a movement known as the Quantified Self, which inspires self-knowledge through self-tracking with technology. There are many digital tools that can help us track our physical activity and diet as well as monitor and measure things like air quality, sleep, mood, logic and memory.
I know that health monitoring plays an important role in maintaining wellness and preventing disease,and I’m always interested in learning more about how we can leverage new tools to improve our personal awareness and overall health. Digital tools may be a great resource to help us better understand our health habits and provide us with the information we need to have meaningful conversations with our health care providers.
Many people don’t know that as many as half of all cancers could be prevented by eliminating known risk factors. We can take action to lower our risk of developing cancer and chronic disease by not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, and participating in regular physical activity.
Colorectal cancer is one specific cancer with many ties to lifestyle factors. As March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, this seems like the perfect time to talk about healthy habits as a prevention method. At Cancer Care Ontario, we’re encouraging people to quit smoking, consume alcohol moderately if at all, to eat well, get moving and take action against colorectal cancer today. We’re also spreading awareness about our latest innovation: My CancerIQ.
My CancerIQ is an online tool that allows you to assess and better understand your risk of developing colorectal, breast, cervical and lung cancer. It includes a series of risk assessments that estimate your risk of cancer compared to other Ontarians like you. While the tool won’t tell you whether or not you will develop cancer, it can help you focus on specific changes you can make to lower your cancer risk and live a healthier life.
We hope you’ll join us on March 25, 2015 at 9 pm ET (time zone converter) to discuss the quantified self, self-tracking and using digital tools to track your health and take action against cancer and chronic disease.
Topics for this week’s chat include:
- T1. Do you use digital tools to track your health?
- T2. How do you use the data you collect to make healthy choices?
- T3. How do you share the data you collect with your doctor? If you don’t, why not?