Cancer and Tobacco Control

Six steps to reduce your cancer risk

Written by Wilma Stassen

On the heels of World Cancer Day, Health-e brings you six changes you can make in your life now to reduce your risk of cancer from South African cancer expert, Dr. Vikash Sewram.

Getting your five fruits and vegetables a day is an important step in reducing your cancer risk, Sewram says.

Getting your five fruits and vegetables a day is an important step in reducing your cancer risk, Sewram says.

The majority of cancers are preventable.  Dr. Vikash Sewram, director of Stellenbosch University’s African Cancer Institute gives us six steps you can take now to reduce your risk of cancer.

  1. Don’t smoke – 33 percent of all cancers are caused by smoking.
  2. Protect yourself from excessive sunlight – everyone, not only fair-skinned people, should limit their time in the sun and wear sunscreen or cover up if they do go out.
  3. Limit the use of alcohol – excessive use of alcohol can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box, gullet, liver and breast.
  4. Follow a healthy diet – eat your fruits and vegetables and limit your fat intake.
  5. Watch your weight and do regular exercise – being overweight increases your chances of breast, uterus, kidney, colon and prostate cancers and decreases your chance of survival.
  6. Regular screening – women should have regular pap smear tests every three years from age 21 and mammograms bi-annually after the age of 40 years. Men between the ages of 40 and 75 years old should get their prostates checked.

Read more World Cancer Day coverage from Health-e

About the author

Wilma Stassen

Wilma Stassen is a reporter at Health-e News Service. She focuses on non-communicable diseases. Follow her on Twitter @Lawim