What can you do to prevent it and improve your self-care?

The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer published 12 ways to reduce your cancer risk under its European Code Against Cancer.

They are:

  • Ensure your children take part in vaccination programmes for:
    • Hepatitis B (for newborns)
    • Human papillomavirus (HPV) (for girls).
  • Have a healthy diet:
    • Eat plenty of whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits.
    • Limit high-calorie foods (foods high in sugar or fat) and avoid sugary drinks.
    • Avoid processed meat; limit red meat and foods high in salt.
  • Be physically active in everyday life. Limit the time you spend sitting.
  • Take action to be a healthy body weight.
  • Make your home smoke free. Support smoke-free policies in your workplace.
  • Do not smoke. Do not use any form of tobacco.Smoking cessation services available locally are:
  • If you drink alcohol of any type, limit your intake. Not drinking alcohol is better for cancer prevention.
  • Avoid too much sun, especially for children. Use sun protection. Do not use sunbeds.
  • In the workplace, protect yourself against cancer-causing substances by following health and safety instructions.Find out if you are exposed to radiation from naturally high radon levels in your home. Take action to reduce high radon levels.
  • For women:
    • Breastfeeding reduces cancer risk. If you can, breastfeed your baby.
    • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk of certain cancers.
    • Limit use of HRT.
  • Take part in organized cancer screening programmes for:
    • Bowel cancer (men and women)
    • Breast cancer (women)
    • Cervical cancer (women).

Bowel Cancer Screening

There are two types of screening for bowel cancer.

A home testing kit is offered to men and women aged 60 to 74.  

Bowel scope screening uses a thin flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end to look at the large bowel. It is offered to men and women at the age of 55 in some parts of England.

People over the age of 70 can request a screening kit.

See more about bowel cancer screening.


Breast Cancer Screening

Breast cancer screening is offered to women aged 50 to 70 to detect early signs of breast cancer. Women aged 70 and over can self-refer.

Breast cancer screening uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they are too small to see or feel. There's a good chance of recovery if the cancer is detected in its early stages.

See more about breast cancer screening and where you can be screened locally.


Cervical Screening

Cervical screening is offered through your GP surgery to women aged 25 to 64 to check the health of cells in the cervix. It is offered every three years between the ages of 26 and 49, and every five years between the ages of 50 and 64.

See more about cervical screening.

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