Smart and effective ways to reduce the risk of suffering from cancer

Four effective ways to reduce the risk of suffering from cancer

Cancer Prevention Action Week takes place every year from 19 to 25 February. Here is how you can reduce your risk of suffering from cancer. 

Cancer ribbons
Cancer ribbons /iStock

According to CANSA, 'food, nutrition, physical activity, and body composition all play a role in increasing cancer risk, or if managed correctly, reducing cancer risk.'

Obtaining knowledge and implementing it is one way of ensuring you lower your risk of suffering from this illness that takes millions of people every year. 

According to Statista, 'in 2020, the number of new cancer cases in Africa amounted to over 1.1 million'. The publication states that 'breast cancer was Africa's leading cause of cancer-related deaths, followed by cervical cancer, with 85,787 and 76,745 deaths, respectively.'

READ: HPV vaccine aims to protect children from certain cancers

These numbers can be lowered if people choose to take the following preventative measures provided by the CANSA organisation: 

Eat and drink smart

The risk of cancer can be reduced by eating healthy food. 

Cut down on processed foods. 

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) states that 'an increased consumption of ultra-processed foods is linked to an elevated risk of multimorbidity involving cancer and cardiometabolic diseases. Associations were specifically noted with animal-based products and artificially sweetened beverages (e.g. soft drinks)'. 

The World Health Organization states that a healthy diet comprises a combination of different foods which include:

Staples like cereals (wheat, barley, rye, maize or rice) or starchy tubers or roots (potato, yam, taro or cassava).

Legumes (lentils and beans).

Fruit and vegetables.

Foods from animal sources (meat, fish, eggs, and milk).

When it comes to alcohol, CANSA states: 'Most people are not aware that drinking any type of alcohol (even in small amounts) increases cancer risk.

'The more alcohol an individual drinks, the higher their risk for cancer, so individuals are encouraged to lower their alcohol intake or even quit. ‘Binge’ drinking (having five or more standard alcoholic drinks on a single occasion), adds to that risk substantially.'

READ: New cancer cases to soar 77% by 2050: WHO

Be active 

Regular physical activity in combination with smart food and drink choices can help lower the risk for cancer, states CANSA. 

The WHO recommends that adults aged 18–64 years should do at least '150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both.'

Avoid tobacco

Consuming tobacco is dangerous for one's health. 

Avoid too much exposure to the sun

It is advisable to avoid overexposure to sunlight to reduce the risks of cancer. 

Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. 

Before going out, apply sunscreen and limit your time in the sun.  

While out in the sun, ensure you wear a hat and wear protective clothing. Also, seek shade. 

READ: KZN toddler hoping for lifesaving cancer treatment

Disclaimer: Health-related information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems. It is always advisable to consult with your doctor on any health-related issues.

Image courtesy of iStock/ @Panuwat Dangsungnoen

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