Here’s your chance to ask all your questions live as we chat with the wonderful oncologist Dr Sithembile Ngidi to wrap up Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Learn about reducing your risk of cancer, how and why smoking causes cancer, signs to watch out for and how to screen for cancer.  Lorraine Govender from CANSA will join the chat to share information on where to go for help and support, and to discuss how the new Tobacco Control Bill will better protect our health. 

See you on Sunday 31st October at 3pm on Facebook Live @protectournext. 

Click here for more and please share with your networks.    

What is Cancer?

Cancer refers to diseases in which abnormal cells divide out of control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems, which help the body get rid of toxins. 

There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start—for example, lung cancer begins in the lung and laryngeal cancer begins in the larynx (voice box).

Symptoms can include: 

How is smoking related to cancer?

Smoking can cause cancer and then block your body from fighting it: 

Poisons in cigarette smoke can weaken the body’s immune system, making it harder to kill cancer cells. When this happens, cancer cells keep growing without being stopped.

Poisons in tobacco smoke can damage or change a cell’s DNA. DNA is the cell’s “instruction manual” that controls a cell’s normal growth and function. When DNA is damaged, a cell can begin growing out of control and create a cancer tumour.

Doctors have known for years that smoking causes most lung cancers. It’s still true today, when nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancers deaths are caused by smoking cigarettes or secondhand smoke exposure. In fact, smokers have a greater risk for lung cancer today than they did in 1964, even though they smoke fewer cigarettes. One reason may be changes in how cigarettes are made and what chemicals they contain. 

Treatments are getting better, but lung cancer still kills more men and women than any other type of cancer. 

Second-hand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out by someone smoking. 

Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body: 

• Bladder 

• Blood (acute myeloid leukaemia) 

• Cervix 

• Colon and rectum (colorectal) 

• Oesophagus 

• Kidney and ureter 

• Larynx 

• Liver 

• Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils) 

• Pancreas 

• Stomach 

• Trachea, bronchus, and lung

Men with prostate cancer who smoke may be more likely to die from prostate cancer than nonsmokers. 

Smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco, also causes cancer, including cancers of the: 

How can smoking-related cancers be prevented?

The most important thing you can do to prevent smoking-related cancer is not to smoke cigarettes, or to quit if you do. It is also important to avoid secondhand smoke.

Quitting smoking lowers the risk for 12 types of cancer: cancers of the lung, larynx, oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, stomach, colon and rectum, liver, cervix, kidney, and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). 

Within 5-10 years of quitting, your chance of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, or voice box drops by half. 

Within 10 years of quitting, your chance of getting cancer of the bladder, esophagus, or kidney decreases. 

Within 10-15 years after you quit smoking, your risk of lung cancer drops by half. 

Within 20 years after you quit smoking, your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box, or pancreas drops to close of that of someone who does not smoke. Also, the risk of cervical cancer drops by about half. 

This Saturday, 30 October, the Mamelodi community will march from Stanza Bopape Sports Complex to Matimba Library Hall as they pledge to #Switchofftobacco in Mams. Local community leaders, school principals and teams from the Department of Environmental Health (DoEH) are joining forces with Protect our Next, a partnership of South Africa’s health organisations, to collect tobacco litter en route, which local learners will use to create larger than life tobacco education murals at their schools. 

The march will be followed by an event featuring community members, school principals, Protect our Next ambassadors, youth advocacy groups Youth with Passion, Ikamva Youth and the South African Tobacco Free Youth Forum (SATFYF), Pastor Pieter from the Royal Eagles Ministry at Silverton.  Successful quitter Nicholas Mokena will share his quit story. The programme incorporates dance, music and theatre featuring local company 6N9 Production. 

The community march is part of a new initiative to #SwitchoffTobacco in Mamelodi activating community media, local schools, churches, taxi ranks, malls, traders and community hotspots with an engaging edutainment programme that encourages the whole community to pledge to be tobacco free. 

“Active, educated communities are vitally important in the fight against tobacco. Everyone can help by educating themselves and others about the risks,” says Sharon Nyatsanza, Deputy Director of the National Council Against Smoking. “It’s time to take back our health from big tobacco bullies.”

Launched during Schools Health Week, the #SwitchoffTobacco initiative has seen a dynamic team of Protect our Next ambassadors educating hundreds of learners at Thuto Bothlale Secondary School and Nwavangani Primary School about the dangers of tobacco and e-cigarettes, highlighting how the new Tobacco Control Bill will better protect communities.  The schools pledged to remain smoke-free.

“Tobacco use is still too high in South Africa. About 1 in 5 adults smoke, and this has a major impact on the health of communities and strains our health system,” says Nyatsanza. “More than 80% of smokers smoked their first cigarette in their teens, and most smokers wish they had never started. It’s clear that tobacco companies are active in the townships, targeting these markets. Communities like Mamelodi, a buzzing hotspot with an influx of people, need to protect themselves from tobacco industry manipulation and send a clear message that they will be tobacco-free. It’s up to communities to get involved and take action.”

Nyatsanza says passing the proposed Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Services Bill into law is a vital part of better protecting communities. “The new Bill requires that any indoor public place is 100% smoke-free, and will make certain outdoor public places smoke-free too. It will further ban smoking in private dwellings used for commercial child care and educational activities, and in cars carrying children under 18. Cigarette advertising at tills and the sale of cigarette via vending machines, which is a channel for young people to access cigarettes would also be prohibited if this bill is passed into law.”

Importantly, the new Bill seeks to regulate e-cigarettes or vape products. “Our current legislation predates e-cigarettes and manufacturers have used the legislative vacuum to promote these devices and appeal to youth – including marketing e-liquids which come in a number of flavours to make them more appealing to young people,” says Dr. Catherine Egbe of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) “We must close the legislative gap and prevent a new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine.”

The Protect our Next team aims to roll out similar education and awareness initiatives in other communities across South Africa. The successful #protectournext schools education programme has also taken place in schools in Alexandra, Midrand and Ivory Park. Educators and community leaders welcomed the initiative, saying that children are both exposed to and experimenting with tobacco at a young age. “Many of our learners have parents and relatives who smoke. These education initiatives really help the children to understand the dangers and to better protect themselves, and we also hope they will take the message home,” says Vice Principal Patrick Ndange of Emfundisweni Primary School. 

Protect our Next is a partnership between South Africa’s leading health organisations, including the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HFSA) and the South African Tobacco Free Youth Forum (SATFYF). Together, the organisations are united in educating communities about tobacco and campaigning for the new Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Services Bill to be passed to better protect the health of the nation. 




Facebook and Twitter:@protectournext



ProtectOurNext Mamelodi Community – October 2021 
#SwitchOnMams to #SwitchOffTobacco

March Details 
Date of March:             Sat,30 October 2021

Gather Time:               09:00

March Start Time:        09:30

Starting Point:             Stanza Bopape Sports Complex

End Point:                   Matimba Library Hall

Event Programme: 10:30 – 12:00

– Opening with National Anthem 

– Welcome by the PON Brand Ambassador Team

– Tobacco vs The Health of our Community: Samuel Ntshegang (PON Ambassador) and Sanele Zulu (SATFYF)

– Community Leader Address: Pastor Pieter

– Community Member Address: Nicholas Mokoena – A Quit Story

– Industrial Theatre – PON Brand Ambassador Team

– Community School Principal

– Youth With Passion

– Industrial Theatre – PON Brand Ambassador Team

– Community Participation: Dance

– Thank you Mams!

Media Interviews: 12:00 – 13:30

Available for interview:

Media contact:

Nirvana Kishoon
CART Agency
+27 (0) 82 823 3167


Tamaryn Brown

Connect Media for CART agency

+ 27 (0) 84 3510560