Awareness is to be raised – Cancer is a life-threatening disease

Awareness is to be raised – Cancer is a life-threatening disease

Did you know that 115 000 South Africans are diagnosed with cancer each year?  Now there is a 6/10 survival rate.

Many people will ask what is Cancer?  It is any malignant growth or tumour caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division.  Cancer is a complex and life-threatening disease which affects millions of South Africans.

We get over 200 different kinds of cancers.  Cancer may spread but is always named for the place where it started. Some cancers can affect areas such as glands or blood.  Common types of cancer are breast cancer, skin cancer and lung cancer.


Early Detection is the Best Protection

It is always best to find cancer early, while it is small and before it has spread.  Adults should regularly have screening test; these tests help you to find common cancers before they cause symptoms.  Always talk to your medical provider to find out which test might be right for you.  Survival tends to be longer for those with early detection and it is also easier to treat.


Ways to reduce your chances of developing cancer

Tobacco is the greatest avoidable risk and is linked to lots of types of cancer.  A couple of cancers linked to tobacco is lung, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, stomach, and cervix to only name a few.  It is possible to stop smoking if help is needed, use programs available.

Alcohol intake increases the risk of cancer.  Ethanol is found in all alcoholic drinks, so no alcoholic drink is safer than another.  The amount of alcohol drunk over time and not the type of drink appears to be the most important factor in raising your cancer risk.  We should all limit our alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink a day for women.

Physical Activity participation will considerably reduce your cancer risk as there is a link between obesity and many types of cancers.  If you only take a 10-minute walk, three times a day, five times a week, you can reduce that risk.

What you eat or do not eat is a factor to consider, healthy foods have been proven to be better for us.  Fresh vegetables, fruit, and whole-grain added to your daily diet will decrease the risk of cancer.  Also, limit your intake of red meat and processed meat.  Nutrition is important and you should educate yourself to start your nutritional well-being.

Certain skin cancers develop because of the exposure to ultraviolet; all depends on the level and the type of exposure.  Anyone can get skin cancer although some are at a greater risk than others.  Avoid the midday sun, try to stay in the shade when outdoors, and always use a generous amount of sunscreen.

Ten percent of cancers occur in persons who have inherited mutations in cancer predisposition genes. A family history of colon, breast, and prostate cancer is one of the biggest risks for hereditary factors.

Cancer according to the WHO is a leading cause of death globally with 9.6 million deaths in 2017.  Not all cancers kill.  50% of people diagnose live for more than 5 years and some cancers have survival rates of more than 90%.  Even if cancer cannot be cured, many treatments can control it for a long time.

As cancer is one of the leading causes of death it is of utmost importance to be knowledgeable about the disease, take precautions as far as possible, educate yourself on the matter, and support organizations dealing with cancer.