Reduce your risk of cancer

If you have noticed changes in your body that isn't normal for you, make an appointment to see your GP. Spotting cancer early saves lives.

According to Cancer Research UK, 1 in 2 people will get cancer in our lifetime. There are things you can do every day to help reduce your risk of getting cancer. Changing your lifestyle habits and knowing where to start can be difficult, but help is available.

Drink less alcohol

Alcohol causes 7 types of cancer, including breast, mouth and bowel cancer. Whatever your drinking habits, cutting down will reduce your risk. You can start by keeping a note of how much you drink and how often. Try swapping an alcoholic drink for a soft drink or water. The less you drink, the lower your risk of cancer.

There is help and advice available to manage your alcohol intake.

Drink more water

Stop smoking

Smoking causes most lung cancers. More than 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in the UK are caused by smoking. If you’re a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. We know that giving up smoking can be hard to do and you don't have to do it on your own, there is help available to give up smoking.

Eat well

Healthier diets could prevent around 1 in 20 cancers. Eating a healthier diet can help reduce your risk of cancer. Swapping unhealthy foods to a more healthier options is a good way to start. 

You can also eat:

  • more fruit, vegetables and high fibre foods like brown bread and brown pasta
  • less red meat, sugary drinks and fast food

You can find more help:

Healthy food
Exercise more

Manage your weight

Being overweight increases your chances of developing cancer. Managing a healthy weight reduces the likelihood of getting cancer. To help lose weight you need to:

  • eat healthier food
  • eat less unhealthy food
  • move about more

You can find out more:

Get active and move more

Being active can help you be healthier, feel better and lose weight. Do activities that make you feel warm and a bit out of breath, like walking, cycling, dancing and housework.

Stay in the shade

Stay safe in the sun

The sun is the main cause of skin cancer. Staying safe in the sun and avoiding sunbeds could reduce your risk of skin cancer. 

From the middle of March to the middle of October, take care in the sun:

  • Stay in the shade especially from 11am to 3pm
  • Don't burn
  • Wear a hat, sunglasses and cover up
  • Use a factor 30 suncream and apply frequently
  • Be especially careful and project babies and children from the sun

You can find more information:

Screening for cancer

Throughout your lifetime, you may be invited to go for health screening. It is important that you attend these sessions. Health screening can detect cancers at an early stage and in some cases, even prevent cancers from developing in the first place.

But screening is not perfect. The tests can miss cancers, and have other risks too. Find out more about health screening.

Information for health professionals