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Reducing the risk of cancer

Online since 10.04.2018 • Filed under Health • From Seventeen - April to June 2018 page(s) 32
Reducing the risk of cancer

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) advocates living a balanced, healthy lifestyle by making smart food choices, doing regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol.

A recent study by the World Cancer Research Fund International confirms the link between obesity and 11 cancers, emphasising the huge role that obesity plays in increasing cancer risk. Nutrition, physical activity and body composition all play a central part in cancer risk reduction.


Eat Smart

‘Maintaining a healthy weight and watching your food (sugar, salt, alcohol, and red meat) intake, is so important to your health. It is proven that obesity can cause cancer,’ says CANSA’s clinical health specialist, Prof Michael Herbst. Reading food labels can help ensure a healthier lifestyle because they make you aware of portion sizes and kilojoules. It is important to note that low-fat or non-fat does not necessarily mean low-kilojoule. ‘Limiting red meat and processed meat is also important for a balanced lifestyle. Choose fish, poultry, beans, legumes and pulses, eat at least five portions of seasonal fruits and vegetables daily, and drink plenty of clean, safe water,’ he adds.  The use of tobacco products (including hubbly bubbly) is harmful to your health and can lead to cancer and other health-related diseases.


CANSA and the Sugar Tax

CANSA encourages reduced sugar intake. High sugar consumption elevates insulin levels, it increases kilojoule intake without any nutrient value, and indirectly increases cancer risk by promoting obesity. Major sources of added sugars (sugars and syrups that are added to food during processing and preparation) include soft drinks, cakes, biscuits, pies, fruit punch, dairy desserts, sweets and chocolates, and also some sports drinks. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sugar intake should not include more than 10% of a person’s daily energy requirements. CANSA supports the indirect taxation on sugar sweetened beverages.


Be Pro-active

It is helpful to know your family history and cancer risk. ‘Knowing your body means you are able to recognise changes and unusual symptoms. This will help you to know when something strange is occurring in your body and when to seek professional medical help,’ says Prof Herbst. It is important to do regular self-examination for breast or testicular cancers, and go for regular check-ups and cancer screening tests at a medical practitioner.

CANSA offers integrated services to the public and to all people affected by cancer. To find out more information or about the many health programmes CANSA offers, visit

Seventeen - April to June 2018

Seventeen - April to June 2018

This article was featured on page 32 of Babys and Beyond Seventeen - April to June 2018 .

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