Reducing your risk of cancer

Not all cancer can be prevented. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting cancer.

51ɫAPP out more about reducing your risk, the active steps you can take and how Maggie's can help.

Understanding your risks

Every type of cancer has risk factors that can increase your chance of developing it.

Some risks you can control by making changes to your lifestyle, but others like your age or family history, are things you can't change.

It's important to be aware and understand all your risks so you can discuss them with your GP. They may recommend additional screening, tests or changes you can make.

Early detection and screening

Cancer is usually easier to treat if it's found early.

You can take an active role in early cancer detection by:

  • Knowing your body so you can spot changes
  • Reporting changes to your GP if you're worried
  • Attending screening appointments and age-related check ups – you should be invited to these by your GP
  • Asking your GP about genetic testing if you have a family history of cancer

Lifestyle changes you can make

Simple changes to lifestyle can help to reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Changes you can make include:

  • Eating well
  • Keeping active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Be safe in the sun
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Following safety procedures when handling hazardous materials
  • Don't smoke and avoid smoky environments
  • Practice safe sex – sexually transmitted viruses, like HPV, can increase your risk of developing some cancers
  • Get vaccinated – the vaccine for HPV is now offered to school children aged 11–12

If you’ve had cancer in the past, lifestyle changes can also help reduce the chance of cancer coming back and improve your general health.

Help to change your lifestyle

Changing your lifestyle can feel challenging and you may feel like you need some help to keep motivated.

It can be easier to keep up positive changes if you:

  • Ask your GP what healthy changes are right for you
  • Set manageable goals
  • Make changes alongside friends or family so you can support each other
  • Ask your GP about programmes or groups to help you achieve your goals. These could include help to stop smoking or help to get active
  • Join a local gym – instructors and classes can provide exercise support and encouragement

Maggie's is here with you

Our Cancer Support Specialists are here to listen to your concerns and help you find the information and help that's right for you:

Last review: Oct 2021 | Next review: Oct 2022

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