Overweight South Africans at higher risk of cancer

Overweight South Africans at higher risk of cancerDue to bad diets, South Africans - even those who are overweight - experience high levels of nutrient deficiencies, including those relating to vitamin A, iron and other minerals and vitamins.

Emerging evidence indicates that being overweight increases your risk of cancer and decreases your chance of surviving it.

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One in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys between the ages of two and 14 are overweight or obese, according to the South African Medical Research Council
One in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys between the ages of 2 and 14 are overweight or obese, according to the South African Medical Research Council

This announcement, made at the World Cancer Congress currently underway in Melbourne, Australia, doesn’t bode well for South Africa where nearly 68 percent of the population is either overweight or obese.

“The greatest risk factors for cancer in developing countries are obesity, lack of exercise and high levels of alcohol use,” CEO of Cancer Council Australi Dr Ian Olver told Health-e News.

Obesity is a risk factor for breast, colorectal, endometrial, kidney, oesophageal and pancreatic cancers, according to the latest edition of The Cancer Atlas, which was launched at the congress.

“As nations industrialise and develop, the number of risk factors such as tobacco use, diet, and physical inactivity increase, and life expectancy increases, allowing for people to live long enough to get cancer,” said atlas lead author Dr Ahmedin Jemal, .

The annual number of new cancer cases worldwide is predicted to increase from 14 million in 2012 to almost 22 million in 2030, and about 70 percent of these cases expected to occur in the developing world.

The Cancer Atlas showed that in sub-Saharan Africa, the chance of developing certain cancer were close to the risk of dying from the disease, suggesting that only a few people survive.

The atlas contains data on the burden of cancer, risk factors as well as national responses to the disease for 184 countries around the world.

Among the Cancer Atlas’ other findings were that:

Some other findings of The Cancer Atlas are that:

  • Tobacco use is responsible for one in five cancer deaths around the world while secondhand smoke cause 2, 400 lung cancer deaths worldwide each year;
  • 31 percent of adults globally do not meet the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week;
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of new cases and death among men, while breast cancer is the leading cause of new cases and deaths among women. However, cervical cancer kills more women in Africa than any other cancer;
  • One in three cancers in Africa are related to infection;
  • More than two-thirds of countries featuring in the Cancer Atlas had national cancer control programmes. South Africa is not one of them. – Health-e News.