In this article, you will find information for the general public who are interested in knowing how they can help reduce their risk of cancer.

The following sections provide tips on how diet and some lifestyle changes can help to lower your risk of cancer. This includes:

If you are a new mum then, breastfeeding may help to protect you and your baby from risk of certain cancers later in life.

Breastfeeding reduces the mother's risk of breast cancer.

Evidence also suggests that being breastfed may protect children against being overweight and obese, which in turn reduces their risk of cancer in the future.

Top tips for reducing your risk of cancer

  1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet – try to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and include high-fibre and wholegrain foods in your diet like wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholewheat pasta and pulses (e.g. lentils and beans), nuts and seeds.
  2. Keep track of your red and processed meat intake – if you on average eat more than 90 grams (cooked weight) of red and processed meat a day (that’s around 600g a week) cut down to 70 grams a day (that’s less than 500g a week).
  3. Watch your salt intake – aim for less than 6g a day. Check the nutrition label on foods, choose reduced salt versions of foods, and don’t add salt in cooking or at the table.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight – being overweight or obese is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. If you need help losing weight speak to your GP for advice on the support that is available to you.
  5. Keep active – aim for at least 150 (2 hours and 30 minutes) minutes a week of moderate activity – that’s the type of activity where you raise your heart beat and sweat but you are still able to talk. This can be fast walking, dancing or even housework or gardening if you put enough brisk activity into it!
  6. Drink in moderation – try to drink no more than 14 units a week, with several alcohol-free days each week.
  7. Give up smoking – smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer.


The World Cancer Research Fund published a new report in May 2018 with updated recommendations for cancer prevention so these pages are due to be revised soon.

Next: Cancer risk


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