Reducing your risk of cancer

More than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime, and According to Cancer Research UK, 40% of cancer cases can be prevented, mainly through changes in lifestyle. Although you can’t guarantee to protect yourself from cancer, there are lots of things you can do to help reduce your risk

By regularly attending appointments for cervical, bowel, and breast cancer screening, you have the best chance of spotting signs early when it’s more treatable. Cervical Cervical screening (a smear test) is a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix. From the age of 25 all women registered with a GP will be invited for a cervical screening every three years. Between the age of 50 and 64, women will be invited every five years. Women over 65 will be invited to be screened if they haven’t been screened since 50 or have recently had an abnormal test result. Each year cervical screening saves 5,000 lives in the UK. Not going for cervical screening is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer.

Bowel Cancer Screening
Taking part in bowel cancer screening reduces your chances of dying from bowel cancer, and removing polyps in bowel scope screening can prevent cancer. If you’re aged between 60 and 74, you will be invited to take part in bowel cancer screening every two years. If you’re aged 75 or over, you can request a screening test by calling the bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

Breast Cancer Screening
About one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, but there’s a good chance of recovery if it’s detected in its early stages. Women aged 50 to 70 are invited for a breast screening every three years. Women over the age of 70 can ask for an appointment.

Know the symptoms
It’s important to know your body and recognise any potential symptoms of cancer such as lumps, change in bowel habit, unexplained weight loss, pain or bleeding. Get advice from your GP early about whether they might be serious. Making lifestyle changes can be easier if you make one change at a time and try to find tricks that make it easier, such as being active with a friend, keeping track of what you eat or drink, or getting support from your local stop smoking service to help you give up.

Making healthier choices

By making healthier choices part of your routine, you can not only reduce your risk of cancer but of many other diseases including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, lung disease and liver disease.

Giving up smoking
Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health! Speak to your local stop smoking service for help and support to give up smoking. You’re four times more likely to quit with help than doing it alone. Contact the Peterborough Stop Smoking Service on 0800 376 56 55 to speak to a trained advisor, email livehealthy@ or speak to your GP or local pharmacy.

Keeping active
Being physically active can reduce your risk of several forms of cancer including bowel and breast cancer. Even small changes in your routine to increase your activity can help, such as brisk walking, cycling and even housework. Aim for 30minutes of moderate activity five times a week.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.

Keep a healthy weight
In England, over 60% of the population is overweight or obese. Being a healthy weight can reduce your risk of developing several cancers.

Drink less alcohol
Drinking alcohol is known to increase your risk of some cancers, including mouth, throat, breast and bowel cancers. Both men and women are advised to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week and to spread drinking over three days or more.

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