Cancers occur as a result of abnormal and uncontrolled growth in your body’s cells. A combination of lifestyle, genetic and environmental factors can ultimately cause these cellular changes. And reducing your risk is, to a great extent, in your hands.
Listen to top health experts explore the ins and outs of lifestyle habits that can lower your risk of developing cancer significantly:
When it comes to lowering your odds of getting cancer, try to think of your body as a car, suggests Professor Carol Ann Benn, a surgeon with a special interest in breast cancer. “It needs regular servicing and good fuel in order to function well, and these together with sensible driving can keep your motor running for a long time and prevent any unnecessary pit stops. It’s impossible for either you or your car to run on empty, which is why it’s so important for you to take control of your health to avoid any major bumps on the road ahead. And the best way to do this is by making healthy lifestyle choices. Although these can’t guarantee that you’ll remain cancer-free, they’ll go a long way towards reducing your risk of developing cancer!”
The American Cancer Society offers the following cancer-preventing healthy living tips:
- Don’t smoke and avoid all forms of second hand smoke.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly most days of the week.
- Eat a healthy diet, rich in fruit and veggies.
- Limit your alcohol intake to 1 drink a day for women, and 2 drinks a day for men.
- Be sun-wise and protect your skin from excessive sun-exposure.
- Listen to your body – get any worrying symptoms checked out.
- Be aware of your family history of cancer and what this means for your cancer risk.
- Go for regular medical check-ups as well as cancer screening tests.
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Tobacco-use is the single-most avoidable risk factor for cancer. The good news is that your lungs start recovering as soon as you kick the habit. Yet, tobacco-related diseases kill over 44 000 South Africans and 6 million people worldwide every year.
The deaths in three consecutive years of those Mickey lived with - her in-laws and then her husband, Mandla, followed by her own shock diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer would have been too much for most women.