World Cancer Day: How to lower your risk

Thursday, 4 February 2016


Today is World Cancer Day, and whether you’ve been diagnosed yourself, or you know someone who battled the illness in one of its many forms, cancer affects everybody. Though genetics play a role in your chances of getting the disease, there are plenty of lifestyle factors that contribute (and up your risk) as well.

Making healthier choices could save your life – here are the things Reader’s Digest and Cancer Research UK recommend you can do to significantly lower your risk:

Give up smoking – the main cause of lung cancer, smoking also puts you at risk of other respiratory illnesses.

Stay active and maintain a healthy body weight – women who exercise have a significantly lower risk of getting breast cancer, as it lowers the blood’s oestrogen levels. Cancer Research UK reported that 1 in 20 cancers in the UK are linked to weight.

Enjoy sunshine responsibly – we get our vitamin D primarily from the sun, and it’s been found that a vitamin D deficiency puts you at higher risk of contracting a number of different cancers. That said, spending too much time in the sun also puts you at risk for skin cancer. Try avoid the sun during the hottest time of the day (10am to 2pm) and always wear a broad spectrum SPF.

Drink the right amount of alcohol – moderate amounts of alcohol (wines, cider, beer or lager) are known to benefit our bodies by killing bacteria and maintaining a healthy heart. Having too much alcohol though, can be the leading cause of up to 7 different cancers. Stick to no more than a few drinks a week, and avoid sugary coolers and hard liquor.

Eat fresh – avoid processed foods as much as you can. Fresh fruits, veggies, fish, nuts, and as little sugar is possible is the way to go.

Get vaccinated – the sexually transmitted HPV virus is the cause of anal, vaginal, cervical and penile cancer. Having the HPV vaccine before becoming sexually active has shown to be majorly successful.

And lastly – we all know that prevention is better than cure, so have your annual check ups to ensure early detection.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Can my gel nails give me skin cancer?
Do I carry a cancer gene like Angelina Jolie?
What’s the link between breast cancer and pregnancy?
Can men get breast cancer?
Cancer-fighting foods you should be eating

Written by

Anien studied English and journalism before heading off into the world of beauty. An undercover "tree hugger" and fashion lover, she's usually found with her nose in a magazine. She has far too many bottles of nail polish and is completely lost without her lip balm. Anien on Google+

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  1. Cookie Nandlall

    The saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. A truer one is to at least make time to have a full medical check up once a year.

    3 years ago •

  1. Feli0017 CHEYANAND

    Very informative information. My granny suffered with cancer and passed away. A scary sneaky disease.

    3 years ago •

  1. Salmaa Moosa

    thanks for the read, very informative!

    3 years ago •

  1. Sashnee Rambaly

    it is so important to eat healthy and to make these lifestyle changes.

    3 years ago •

  1. Cassandra Da Silva

    There was a rumour a few years ago about how the HPV Vaccine was a hoax and how it did absolutely nothing to prevent cancer. That was something that kept me from getting vaccinated, also I believe Medical Aids should cover this type of vaccine because it is so expensive!

    3 years ago •

  1. Salmaa Moosa

    great article, cancer is like a flu in todays times.. may we all be kept safe.

    3 years ago •


    I don’t smoke or drink alcohol. So i just need to start eating healthy.

    3 years ago •

  1. Tanya Lawrence

    Thanks for the advise – very informative.

    3 years ago •

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