World Cancer Day on 4 February is aimed at making everyone aware of how they can help to reduce the global burden of cancer.
How many South Africans are affected by cancer?
Millions of South Africans are affected by this complex and life-threatening disease – in fact one in every four people in this country is affected by this disease as a result of being diagnosed with it, or having a friend or family member with cancer. More than 100 000 South Africans are diagnosed with cancer every year.
Environmental and lifestyle factors such as diet, a lack of exercise and smoking can contribute to the development of cancer.
There is an alarming increase in the number of people who are overweight or obese in this country, and almost a third of men and over half of women fall into this category. Obesity increases an individual’s risk for developing cancer.
What you can do to reduce your cancer risk?
Making healthy lifestyle choices, such as not smoking, eating a balanced and healthy diet, getting regular exercise, staying out of the sun as far as possible, and not drinking alcohol can all help to reduce a person’s risk for cancer. People can also try and reduce their exposure to certain environmental carcinogens, such as benzene and formaldehyde, as well as be aware of the risks of contracting certain viruses such as Human Papilloma Virus, Hepatitis B Virus and Hepatitis C Virus.
The earlier cancer is detected, the more easily it can be treated, so it is important that people know the signs and symptoms of this disease, such as a change in the way your body works, extreme fatigue, fever, significant unexplained weight loss, the presence of a lump, pain, a cough, or changes in the skin. But not all types of cancer may cause these symptoms.
Regular screening is very important, especially if other family members have developed cancer.
What you can do to help?
Creating a support system for cancer patients can massively improve motivation to fight the disease. Encourage your family or friend with cancer to maintain a healthy lifestyle by suggesting nutritious foods, supplements, and moderate exercise.
In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, MediHub cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.