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Health promotion

THealth promotion and cancer prevention are the main goals of the Cancer Society of Finland. Through its work, the organisation strives to reduce the risk of contracting cancer and the harms caused by cancer.

The Cancer Society works to promote health in many fields. It seeks to influence social policy, general attitudes, social and healthcare practices, and individual choices. The Cancer Society provides expert knowledge on cancer prevention and health promotion. Health promotion campaigns are directed at a wide range of target groups.

One of the Cancer Society’s most important health promotion goals is to bring an end to the use of tobacco products and to prevent people from taking up the habit. Young people are a special target group in this work. Apart from the harmful effects of smoking, attention is paid to the risks caused by snus, e-cigarettes and passive smoking.

In recent years, the Cancer Society has also highlighted the importance of nutrition, exercise and weight management in cancer prevention. In addition, the organisation works to reduce the incidence of skin cancer and cervical cancer through its health promotion efforts. The organisation also strives to make people more aware of the carcinogenic properties of alcohol.

The Cancer Society cooperates with other organisations and authorities to promote health. The organisation also carries out international cooperation in health promotion work.

The European Code Against Cancer

Promoting the health of young people

Young people are one of the main target groups for the Cancer Society’s health promotion work. Lifestyle has a significant impact on the risk of cancer. Lifestyles adopted in youth and maintained throughout life are of major importance to health and wellbeing.

The promotion of young people’s health is implemented widely through a variety of means for various target groups:

Young people
The Fressis service (in Finnish) provides young people with information and encourages nicotine-free living and healthy lifestyles. Its topics cover all lifestyle aspects pivotal to cancer prevention: the use of tobacco and nicotine products; nutrition; alcohol; sexual health; sun protection; daily rhythm; and positive mental health from the perspective of life management. Fressis includes the Fressis.fi website, the social media channels supporting it (Instagram, Facebook, Youtube) and the Fressis magazine published once a year.

Fressis offers information to young people for instance through articles, tests and campaigns. Ask the Expert column (in Finnish) gives answers to health-related questions puzzling young people. The Nikotiiniton chat serves young people who consider quitting smoking and giving up the use of snus. The Tobacco Body site describes the harmful effects of tobacco and snus in the body and the benefits of not using or stopping the use of these products.

Adults working with children and young people
Targeted at adults working with children and young people, the NikEdu website (in Finnish) provides material for the development of a nicotine-free environment, to be used in classes and in health education. The site is aimed at teachers, directors of educational institutions, youth workers, parents and other adults close to children and young people.

The Cancer Society also conducts surveys, in particular, on young people’s use of tobacco and nicotine products, and related phenomena. The materials we produce can be ordered free of charge for use by, for instance, educational institutions.

Ongoing projects:

Namis

The Nicotine-Free Vocational School (Namis) project was started at the Savo Vocational College in Kuopio in 2018. The aim of the project is to support the educational institution in developing operating models and learning environments that foster a nicotine-free approach while also strengthening the personnel’s preparedness to support students in adopting a nicotine-free lifestyle. In its first year, the project carried out an extensive initial survey comprising observations and interviews of 76 staff members and students. The results of the initial survey have been reviewed together with a steering group set up at the college, and also with working groups consisting of staff members and students. The planning of concrete actions has begun in cooperation with the target group, and the first measures will be implemented in 2019. In addition to the Savo Vocational College, the project partners include the Cancer Society of North Savo and the City of Kuopio Substance Abuse Prevention.

In the context of sport, work on reducing the use of snus will continue in cooperation with the Finnish Olympic Committee.

Hyvä Päivä (Good Day)

Hyvä päivä activities increase knowledge and skills for healthy lifestyles among young people (under 29 years) outside work and study, thus reducing their risk of being diagnosed with major common diseases, such as cancer. The Hyvä päivä group is grounded in young people’s own strengths and interest in changing their lifestyle. The meetings emphasise the importance of healthy nutrition, exercise, daily rhythm and mental wellbeing. The participants also prepare a healthy meal and exercise together. The group materials are available on the Hyvä päivä website for instructors. Between meetings, young people do small, health-promoting experiments in their daily lives. Most often the Good Day group activities are carried out as part of the municipal youth services and the Ohjaamo (One-Stop Guidance Centre) activities.

Many times a year, the Cancer Society of Finland organises Good Day instructor training for professionals working with young people. This training reinforces knowledge of healthy living and lifestyle changes among professionals working with young people. During 2019, Good Day activities are expanded and rooted nationwide. The Good Day project is funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health from an appropriation granted by Veikkaus, and through the business partnership between LocalTapiola and the Cancer Foundation.

Hyvä päivä website (in Finnish)

The Cancer Society maintains a number of health promotion websites aimed at different target groups:

Free from Cancer — A website for those interested in cancer prevention and healthy lifestyles.

Fressis — A website for young people that encourages healthy lifestyles. (in Finnish)

Tobacco Body — A website that shows how smoking affects the body.

NikEdu — A website for educators, parents and other adults working closely with children and young people, which contains comprehensive information and material on tobacco products. (in Finnish)