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Take Action for World Cancer Day  

Afrikaanse Persvrystelling

18 January 2023CANSA and Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) places the spotlight on World Cancer Day (4 February) and challenges individuals to lower their personal cancer risk through healthy living. The focus is on smart eating and drinking, participating in regular physical activity like the ‘World Cancer Day 5k Challenge’ and avoiding known cancer-causing agents such as alcohol and tobacco.

#CloseTheCareGap #WorldCancerDay #BalancedLifestyle #LowerCancerRisk

Lorraine Govender, CANSA National Manager: Health Promotion emphasises that South Africans have the power to influence their own well-being.

She says, “This year’s World Cancer Day’s theme, ‘Close the Care Gap, is all about uniting our voices’ and taking action. Whoever you are, you have the power to reduce the impact of cancer for yourself and the people you love. The top three known changeable risk factors worldwide for cancer are smoking, alcohol consumption and high body weight (BMI 30 and above). Nearly half the deaths due to cancer, worldwide are due to these factors. This means that individuals can play a significant role in lowering their cancer risk, by avoiding these carcinogens and through a balanced diet and regular physical activity.”

In South Africa, being overweight and obese are a growing public health concern. Their incidence is rising and among the highest in sub–Saharan Africa.* CANSA encourages public health authorities to educate consumers regarding the health risks posed by unhealthy products, including ultra-processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages and to offer guidelines on healthier alternatives. This is especially in view of the fact that colorectal cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among men and the third prevalent among women in South Africa (National Cancer Registry 2019), and that these risk factors have been shown to increase risk for this type of cancer.

Cary Adams, CEO of the Union for International Cancer Control, advocates for reform and change: “Millions of avoidable cancer deaths are caused by unhealthy products. As we celebrate World Cancer Day, UICC stands ready to support governments in their efforts to limit people’s exposure to tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed food products.“ 

World Cancer Day Challenge

“If you are not sure where to begin, our CANSA Active campaign offers a good opportunity for you to get you moving and lower your cancer risk. Grab a buddy and take part in a 5 km event for CANSA to highlight World Cancer Day. It’s simple, close a loop of 5 km, by walking, hiking, running, swimming or even dancing. Then record it on your favourite fitness tracker, post it on your social media platform of choice and nominate 5 others to take up the challenge and help spread the word.  We also encourage you to donate R50 towards CANSA’s health education initiatives and care and support programmes,” explained Govender.

CANSA aims to educate the public around edible products which help lower cancer risk and promote physical activity through its Seal of Recognition Programme. Products have gone through stringent testing to be approved as Seal partners. Shoppers can look out for the CANSA Seal on labels and know they are making a smart choice in terms of the products they are buying.

It further educates the public through its Balanced Lifestyle campaign regarding the importance of a balanced diet and regular physical activity and the free online Lifestyle Risk Assessment tool helps to identify factors that put individuals at risk for cancer.

Govender adds, “As proud partner of World Cancer Day, we make it our mission to help everyone access cancer care. Part of our ongoing cancer training is with Traditional Health Practitioners  on the most common cancers affecting men and women in SA to enable early detection and timeous treatment. We further lobby at government level for change and have supported efforts to pass the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill to improve health for our citizens.”

CANSA recommends investing in your health and staying the course for the year ahead. Simple actions can include:

  1. Take CANSA’s free online Lifestyle Risk Assessment.
  2. Participate in the Lace Up For Cancer event by Life Healthcare, in partnership with the Cancer Alliance and Hospice Palliative Care Association, taking place in Stellenbosch, Western Cape on 4 February 2023.
  3. Get moving – 150 minutes per week is all that is necessary (see CANSA’s Seal partners in the physical activity category for ideas).
  4. Pack a healthy lunch – get your share of fruit and vegetables for the day when you pack this meal (see CANSA’s Seal partners in the edible goods category for ideas and more information on the CANSA website).
  5. Go for regular cancer screening at a CANSA Care Centre or medical institution or government clinic.

(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email lbalona@cansa.org.za. Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.)

CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

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