Prevention and risk management
Staying active, making healthy food choices and avoiding known risk factors can reduce your risk of getting cancer.
We encourage all of our patients and their families to follow a healthy lifestyle which can reduce the risk and overall improve the quality of life, as per the guidelines indicated by the Cancer Association of South Africa.
According to the World Health Organization, smoking causes 85% of all lung cancers worldwide.
If you don't smoke or use tobacco products, don't start.
If you do smoke, even occasionally, the health benefits of quitting will begin as soon as five minutes after you put down your last cigarette. Your health will continue to improve over time.
If you live with a smoker or you are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke, you are more likely to develop lung cancer. Even limited exposure to secondhand smoke can raise your heart disease risk.
Other nicotine products
Cigars, pipes and hookahs are not safe alternatives to smoking. In fact, hookah users may inhale more smoke than cigarette smokers, because hookah sessions often last an hour or more. Smokeless tobacco products like chewing tobacco and snuff can cause mouth and throat cancers. Snuff may increase your risk for cancers of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and pancreas. E-cigarettes are smokeless devices that vaporize a solution of nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals. E-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to smoking. Their ingredients are unregulated, and there is no evidence they are effective as a smoking cessation tool. While they do not contain tobacco, the nicotine they contain is highly addictive and harmful.
The single best thing you can do for your health and the health of your loved ones is to stop using tobacco. Quitting at any age lowers your disease risks and helps you live longer.
Tips to help you beat tobacco and nicotine addiction
• Get ready: select a quit date and make it special. Try to reduce your tobacco use before the quit date.
• Get support: ask family and friends to support you. Ask for help with smoking cessation from your doctor or employer.
• Learn new skills and behavior: change daily routines that trigger your tobacco use.
• Get your teeth cleaned and try peppermints, sunflower seeds or gum to keep your mouth busy.
• Consider nicotine replacement therapy.
It is available over the counter and by prescription, and can double your chances of quitting successfully.
• Be prepared: it may take multiple attempts to quit.
You can reduce your chances of developing cancer and chronic diseases by making healthier food choices.In fact, a diet rich in plant foods, whole grains and legumes can give your body the range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it needs to stay healthy.
Plus, eating a variety of healthy foods can help prevent weight gain and decrease body fat.
Fill your plate with 2/3 or more of vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans and 1/3 or less of lean animal protein.
According to the World Health Organization, the following nutrition-related actions are associated with a reduction of cancer risk:
• Avoid sugary drinks and limit high-calorie foods.
• Limit consumption of red meats to 600 grams of cooked meat per week.
• Avoid processed meats like ham, bacon, sausage, hot dogs and deli meat.
• Limit alcoholic drinks to two for men and one for women a day.
• Limit added salt, salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).
By increasing your physical activity, you lower your risk of many types of cancers including breast, endometrial, prostate, colorectal and lung cancers.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or 75 minutes of more vigorous exercise each week.
Examples of moderate activities include walking, yoga and mowing the lawn. Examples of vigorous activity include running or jogging, fast bicycling and swimming.
In addition, sit for less time each day. Sitting too much increases body fat, which leads to cancer and other chronic diseases. Try to get up and move for one to two minutes every hour that you are awake.
Do muscle strengthening exercises at least twice a week. Strength training helps you maintain a healthy weight because the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world. It's also one of the most preventable. The primary cause is too much sun or tanning bed exposure. People of all skin colors can develop skin cancer. It's one of the easiest cancers to detect and most types are highly curable.
Risk factors for skin cancer include:
• A history of frequent or intense sun exposure
• A history of tanning bed use
• One or more blistering sunburns
• Red or blond hair, fair skin, freckles and blue or light-colored eyes
• More than 50 moles
• A family history of melanoma
• A personal history of melanoma
• A personal history of basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers