Most cancers are related to diet and lifestyle and about 80% of cancer cases can be prevented, according to Dr Carl Albrecht, cancer specialist and research coordinator of the Cancer Association of South Africa.
According to Dr Albrecht 80% of cancers can be prevented by three simple precautionary measures:
There is a growing awareness in medical circles of the impact of diet on peoples' health. Modern diets often contain very little fibre, unlike the diet of our ancestors thousands of years ago. Low-fibre diets and toxic fungi often lead to incidences of oesophageal and larynx cancer, and even liver cancer (aflatoxin in peanuts and maize covered with fungi).
Ayesha Sassman, Information officer of the SA Cancer Association also stressed the fact that low-fibre diets did not effectively enable the body to rid itself of harmful substances.
She stressed the importance of eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, to exercise regularly, to stop smoking and to drink only in moderation. This meant two drinks per day for men and one for women.
Certain cancers appeared not to be lifestyle- related. Breast cancer, in particular, fell into this category and doctors are generally dumbfounded as to the causes of this.
Certain people simply had a genetic predisposition to cancer, which is why regular check-ups are so vital, especially if there is a family history of cancer.
What is breast cancer?
Cancer and genetics