04 February 2018

How to protect yourself from cancer

Cancer may be prevented through a healthy lifestyle.

It’s estimated that over the next 10 years, cancer deaths will increase to more than 14 million per year (currently 8.8 million). By 2030, it’s expected that globally 21.7 million people will be impacted by cancer.

But quite often cancer can be beaten – and the purpose of World Cancer Day is to reduce the number of deaths by raising awareness.

The key message of World Cancer Day is that many cancers are treatable and that they are always more treatable if detected early.

We should all should make an effort to get screened for cancer and report worrying symptoms to our doctors – the sooner, the better. 

Beating cancer through exercise

Dr Carl Albrecht previously told Health24 that many cancers are related to diet and lifestyle. He says there are three simple precautionary measures everyone can take:

1. Follow healthy eating habits

2. Stay out of the sun and protect your skin

3. Stop smoking (or never start) 

Cancercare, the leading provider of holistic cancer care in South Africa, supports the efforts to raise cancer awareness and combat cancer on World Cancer Day, by supporting the annual Lace Up for Cancer Fun Run/Walk held in Cape Town.  

People taking part in a fun walk for cancer

Why a fun run/walk?

Dr Greg Hart, an oncologist at Cancercare’s Rondebosch Oncology Centre, who is taking part in the event, said, “Events like this are important in spreading the message far and wide, encouraging people to embrace healthy living and showing support for those with cancer.”

He says the Lace Up for Cancer Fun Run/Walk is getting bigger each year.

“It’s a very well-attended, uplifting event, with participants including cancer survivors, people commemorating the lives of loved ones who have died of cancer, caregivers, a smattering of medical professionals, and members of the public who want to raise cancer awareness and just embrace a healthier lifestyle,” he says.

Dr Hart also says that events such as the Lace Up for Cancer Fun Run/Walk play an important role in encouraging people to get more exercise.

“Exercise, as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, can help reduce people’s risk of developing certain cancers. Importantly, exercise and healthy living also supports the recovery process among cancer patients – elevating their mood and improving their state of mind. Some cancer patients and survivors receive treatment that could contribute to weight gain and osteoporosis, so regular exercise supports their recovery. And should fit, otherwise healthy people develop cancer, they are likely to cope better with treatment and improve their chances of a better outcome.”              

Most guidelines recommend that you get regular exercise three or four times a week, depending on your age and level of fitness.

Image credits: iStock, supplied


Ask the Expert

Cancer expert

CANSA’s purpose is to lead the fight against cancer in South Africa. Its mission is to be the preferred non-profit organisation that enables research, educates the public and provides support to all people affected by cancer. Questions are answered by CANSA’s Head of Health Professor Michael Herbst. For more information, visit

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