This page tells you about preventing cancer. There is information about
We can help to prevent cancer by avoiding things that we know increase our risk of certain cancers, such as smoking, eating unhealthy food and being in the sun for too long. This doesn't guarantee that you won't get cancer but it reduces your risk of getting it. Cancer often has more than one known cause and sometimes the exact cause is not known.
You can order or download copies of the Cancer Research UK leaflets about cancer prevention and a healthy lifestyle from our News and Resources website. There are leaflets about reducing cancer risk generally including ones on diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol. There are also leaflets about reducing the risk of specific cancers including cancer of the mouth, bowel, skin, breast and cervix. You can order online or contact the team on email@example.com or 0203 469 8333 if you need any help.
Smoking increases the risk of many types of cancer, including
- Lung cancer
- Mouth cancer
- Pharyngeal cancer (the pharynx is behind the nose)
- Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
- Cancer of the oesophagus (gullet)
- Stomach cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Primary liver cancer (cancer that has started in the liver)
- Cancer of the cervix (neck of the womb)
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
There is now a mouth cancer awareness week every year in the UK. It aims to help people reduce their risk of mouth cancer. And to make people aware of the symptoms, so that any signs of mouth cancer are picked up as early as possible. Your dentist can help by checking your mouth at least once a year. Cancer Research UK are running an awareness campaign called open up to mouth cancer. This campaign also aims to raise awareness of the causes and signs of mouth cancer. There is information about how to reduce your risk of mouth cancer in the question and answer section of CancerHelp UK.
Together, smoking and drinking account for as many as 9 out of 10 mouth cancers. If you want to reduce your risk as much as you can, stopping smoking is a good way to start. There is information about smoking and lung cancer on the risks and causes of lung cancer page of CancerHelp UK.
Some researchers estimate that we could reduce the incidence of some types of cancer by up to a third if we all ate more healthily. This means general changes to our diets and trying to maintain a healthy weight. There is no one food that we should or should not eat to help prevent cancer. Diet has been linked to several types of cancer including cancer of the
Most of us would be able to change our diet in some way to make it healthier. To eat more healthily we should
- Eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Eat plenty of fibre
- Cut down on fat
- Cut down on salt
- Cut down on sugar
The best way to get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that we need is to eat a wide variety of foods. No one food can give us all we need. To eat a balanced diet, you should include some fresh fruit and vegetables, some starchy foods and some protein foods every day. To make sure your diet is as healthy as possible you should look at your fibre, fruit and vegetable, fat, salt and alcohol intakes.
There is very detailed information about diet and preventing cancer in the healthy eating section of Cancer Research UK's news and resources website.
We should all try not to get burnt in the sun and to be aware of the damage it can do to our skin. But some people need to be particularly careful. You should be particularly careful about going out in the sun if you
- Are fair skinned
- Have lots of moles (more than 50)
- Have a close relative who has had melanoma
It is probably most sensible not to deliberately sun bathe at all. But if you are going to then
- Cover up with a hat, long sleeved shirt and trousers if you are out in the sun when it is hottest
- Do not sit in the sun when it is hottest - between 11am and 3pm in the UK
- Wear a sunscreen of at least protection factor 15 and reapply it regularly - generally, the higher the sun protection factor (SPF) the better, particularly for children
Usually, the higher the SPF, the more the product costs. We recommend that you use at least factor 15. But for children or if you are very fair skinned, use the highest factor you can afford. There is more about sun protection generally, and about sun creams in the melanoma section of CancerHelp UK.
Sunbeds increase your risk of skin cancer and we recommend that you don't use them.
The sun produces a range of types of radiation. There are also other types of radiation we are exposed to, such as X-rays in medical tests and natural radon from the environment. There is information about these in the causes and cancer section of CancerHelp UK. There is also more about reducing your exposure to possible cancer causing substances at work.
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 10 votes
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team