World Cancer Day: 7 important lifestyle changes you need to adopt

World Cancer Day (BISSA)
  • Today, February 4, 2020, is world cancer day- an annual international event for raising awareness and reducing the stigma associated with this deadly disease.
  • This year, the theme is 'I am and I will' which is focused on countering the negative attitude that nothing can be done about cancer.
  • In line with the theme, Business Insider SSA has compiled a list of preventive measures to reduce your cancer risk.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), between 30% and 50% of cancer deaths can be prevented.

Research also states that 4 out of 10 cancer cases can be prevented by simply making certain modifications.

This is why we have put together the following seven important lifestyle changes you need to adopt to reduce your cancer risk:

  • Stop smoking

Researchers have found that one in three of all kinds of cancers is related to smoking. To cut your cancer risk, stop smoking.

  • Avoid second-hand smoke

Inhaling secondhand smoke can increase the risk of lung cancer, cancers of the larynx (voice box) and pharynx (upper throat).


"Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30%," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states.

  • Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight puts you at a higher risk of developing breast, pancreatic, bowel, oesophageal, gallbladder, kidney cancer and womb cancers.


To reduce your chance and maintain a healthy weight, make sure you exercise regularly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity.

  • Watch what you eat 

The frequent consumption of junk food, processed meat has been linked to obesity, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

The best thing to do is to have a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high in fibre, low in saturated fat, red and processed meat.

  • Reduce your alcohol consumption 

Science has linked regular alcohol consumption to at least seven types of cancer - throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), oesophagus (food pipe), breast, liver, bowel, pancreatic and mouth cancer.

You can prevent cancer by limiting how much alcohol you drink or cut it out completely.

  • Use sunscreen

Skin cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer. However, it is also one of the most preventable ones. It can be prevented using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day.

You can also avoid the midday sun (when the sun's rays are strongest, cover up with loose-fitting clothing, using hats and staying in the shade as much as you can.

  • Go for regular screenings

Early detection is one of the most important ways to prevent cancer. This can be achieved with regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers like colon, cervix and breast.


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