Adopt a Balanced Lifestyle
It is estimated that 10% of cancers diagnosed are as a result of hereditary factors and 15% are caused by carcinogens in the environment. A further 20% can be attributed to viral infections (Hepatitus B & C / HPV) & 10% can be due to other factors (mainly chronic inflammation).
Poor Lifestyle Choices Increase Cancer Risk
The percentage of cancer cases caused by unhealthy lifestyle factors is considerable & unnecessary:
- 15% being overweight & not getting enough exercise
- 5% consuming too much alcohol
- 20 – 25% using tobacco or tobacco products
Experts estimate that cancer risk can be reduced by 30% if these unhealthy lifestyle factors are excluded from our way of life.
CANSA encourages all South Africans to make smart choices and embrace a balanced lifestyle in order to help reduce their cancer risk.
Watch Your Weight – Obesity & Cancer
The WHO defines ‘obesity’ or ‘being overweight’ as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. In SA there is an alarming increase with regards to this, with more than 29% of men and 56% of women being classified as being overweight or obese (Puoane et al). Obesity and being overweight are major risk factors for cancer and a number of chronic diseases.
Obesity is associated with an increased risk for cancers which have a hormonal basis (Bray):
- Obesity in women is associated with cancers of the reproductive system (breast, cervix, uterus, endometrius), as excess body fat results in excess production of oestrogen by adipose stromal cells.
- In men, obesity is associated with cancer of the rectum, colon and prostate.
The 4th most common type of cancer among South African men and women, colorectal cancer (colon cancer), affects the colon or the large intestine or bowel. Researchers firmly believe that diet and lifestyle play an important role in its prevention. Download these documents to learn more:
Think Smart – Prevention is Better than Cure
- Know your own body & symptoms of cancer (adult): English | Afrikaans | Zulu | SeSotho
- Teach your children to know their own bodies & be aware of symptoms of cancer (children): English
- Go for regular cancer screening tests, especially if there is a history of cancer in your family – see Women’s Health | Men’s Health for info
- Get all prescribed vaccinations, especially against Hepatitus strains & Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Avoid known carcinogens in the environment
- Model a healthy, balanced lifestyle to your children