Want to reduce your cancer risk?

Did you know that 4 in 10 cases of cancer in the UK could be prevented?

Thankfully, there is a whole bunch of ways to enjoy a healthy life and stack the odds in your favour. As we get older, our risk of cancer will increase, but there are plenty of changes we can make to reduce it, and it’s never too late to start.

Six ways to cut your cancer risk

  1. Get smoke free

Let’s start with the obvious one. Tobacco causes most lung cancers, and increases the risk of at least 13 other types of cancer. Giving up is the best way to cut your cancer risk, but it’s not always easy. You’re 3 times more likely to quit using free local Stop Smoking Services, that’s why there’s plenty of free support out there to help. Click here to learn more about the Smoking Cessation Service in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

  1. Cut back on booze

Beer, wine, spirits– drinking any type of alcohol increases your cancer risk. That’s not to say you have to cut out alcohol altogether to see any benefits – even small changes can make you healthier. Try to drink no more than 14 units a week, most drinks contain 2 – 3 units.

  1. Watch your weight

You won’t be surprised to hear that losing weight boils down to three things: eating healthier foods, eating less, and getting more active. But actually doing that can be tough.

Our weight can have a big impact on our risk of cancer. Being overweight causes 13 different types of cancer, including breast and bowel cancer. Small changes to your diet and activity can make a big difference.

  1. Think about what is on your plate

Did you know that the food we eat can affect our risk of getting cancer?

Not only does it impact our weight, but some types of food increase or decrease our risk too. Here’s what’s on the reducing cancer risk menu:

Eat more fruit, vegetables and high-fibre foods

Eat less processed and red meat, sugary drinks and high-calorie foods like fast food

  1. Get moving

Being active reduces the risk of bowel, breast and womb cancers, and helps you keep a healthy weight.

Try fitting more activity into your daily routine. Aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

You could do anything that gets you warm and a little out of breath, like brisk walking, cycling – even some determined housework.

  1. Stay safe in the sun

We all love a sunny day, but it’s important to protect yourself and be mindful of how long you’ve been outside.

Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer. So whether you’re at home or abroad, here are some quick tips to stay safe when the sun is strong:

  • Enjoy the cool of the shade, especially in the middle of the day
  • Wear a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses
  • On the parts of your body that aren’t covered, use sunscreen with at least SPF15 and four stars or more
  • Don’t let sunburn catch you or your family out.


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