Updated 12 June 2013

16 tips on avoiding cancer

Everyone wants to avoid cancer. Here are some practical tips on everyday things you can do from one of South Africa's top cancer researchers.


The following tips on avoiding cancer were provided by Dr Carl Albrecht, chief researcher of the Cancer Association of South Africa. These are things most people can do without incurring huge costs.

  • Stop smoking, or even better, never start.
  • Balance food intake with exercise. Obesity must be avoided at all costs.
  • Choose to eat unrefined starch, such as brown rice and wholewheat bread.
  • Reduce sugar intake.
  • Reduce salt intake. We eat approximately ten times the quantity of salt that we need.
  • Reduce the intake of animal fats, whether in the form of meat or dairy products.
  • Eat more beans.
  • Increase folic acid intake. This is found in spinach, among other things.
  • Increase omega-3 fatty acid intake. Use canola oil instead of sunflower oil.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Eat more tomatoes. Among their many health benefits, tomatoes are also very good protection against prostate cancer. (While researchers are divided on the cancer-fighting properties of tomatoes, everyone agrees that they are nutritious, so you can't go wrong here.)
  • Use olive oil on salads – the cold-pressed virgin olive oil.
  • A glass of good red wine a day appears to have beneficial effects.
  • Drink tea.
  • Avoid too much sun, or even better, don’t go into the sun unless adequately protected.
  • If any symptom that suggests cancer persists for more than two weeks, consult a GP.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated August 2011)

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