It is a myth to believe that getting cancer is simply down to bad luck or genetic factors.

Through scientific research, we know that our risk depends on a combination of our genes, our environment and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are no proven ways to prevent cancer, but we can all greatly reduce our risk with some lifestyle changes.

By constantly reinforcing this message, and talking to people about cancer prevention as part of your everyday role you can play a part in helping to save lives. A total of 134,000 cancers in the UK are believed to be caused by lifestyle and environmental factors each year. Many people don’t realise just how much their chances of getting cancer can be reduced by these changes, but in fact experts believe that up to half of cases can be prevented through lifestyle changes.  You can help significantly with altering perceptions and commonly held beliefs around cancer.

The four biggest changes that you can make are;
Stop smoking
Eat five daily portions of fruit and vegetables
Maintain an active lifestyle
Moderate how much alcohol you drink

You can find further information about all of these factors, as well as advice about protecting your skin from sun damage on the NHS UK website

It is important to get the message across that it is never too late to make changes to your lifestyle. Stopping smoking at aged 30 will cut your risk of lung cancer almost to that of non smokers. Stopping at 50 can undo half of the damage done. Tobacco causes 19% of all cancer cases, and 27% of cancer-related deaths. You are four times more likely to stop smoking if you seek help. The NHS Smokefree website gives a great deal of help and advice.

It has been suggested that up to 10% of cancers could be prevented with an improved diet.

A great many more lives can be saved if people with symptoms seek help earlier; treatment is often easier too. Again, talking to people about early presentation and possible symptoms to look out for as part of your everyday role is invaluable when it comes to saving lives.

We have included specific prevention information for each cancer in the cancers section of the toolkit, so please take a look at those for further information. – See more at: