SIMPLE THINGS CAN PREVENT CANCER
By Michelle Harripersadth
On the 4th of February the world commemorates all those who have been affected by Cancer and try to bring awareness to an ongoing illness that has impacted the lives of millions of people.
Research shows that up to 90% of cancers are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. The disturbing information was posted on the CANSA website in hopes that highlighting the impact of having a healthier and more balanced lifestyle will become a priority for society.
Statistics state that less than 10% of cancers are caused by inherited genetic malfunction and that 90% are triggered by one or more environmental or lifestyle factors causing critical damage to the genetic material (DNA).
Some of these contributing factors affect people in the form of chemicals, viruses, bacteria and UV lights. Chemicals are a major cause of pollution in the environment and consequently cause the most cancers.
They often contaminate the air, water, soil, food and drink we are exposed to. The most destructive chemicals are those present in cigarette smoke causing lung cancer which is often fatal.
Other chemical pollutants such as those found in combustion engine emissions and those released by certain industries are tasteless, odorless and invisible and consequently pose a real but unnoticed cancer threat.
Ashaylin Govender, IT graduate said, ““My dad was a victim of throat cancer. He started smoking at the age of 11 and passed away when he was only 39 years old. He discovered that he had cancer after repeatedly going to the dentist because of a toothache. I was three years old when he passed away of a habit that had eventually consumed his life.”
Statistics state that up to 30% of cancers can be prevented – you can significantly reduce your cancer risk by going for regular cancer screening tests, vaccinations, getting regular exercise, making smart eating choices, limiting alcohol intake, reducing sun exposure and avoiding tobacco.
The CANSA association of South Africa hosts their annual Shave-a-thon in memory of all those who have battled with cancer. Many people shave their head or spray paint their hair inorder to show their support.
“Prevention is always better than cure and if enough awareness is brought to this disease than maybe we can help make a difference,” said Govender