12 ways to reduce your risk of cancer
Date: 
January 1, 2020

Healthy New Year’s resolutions can significantly reduce risk of cancer

The Irish Cancer Society is urging people to make simple lifestyle changes in 2020 as part of their New Year’s resolutions, to significantly lower their risk of cancer. 

4 out of 10 cancer cases are preventable by making a number of lifestyle changes recommended in the European Code Against Cancer. 40% of cancer risk has been attributed to five lifestyle factors—tobacco, diet, overweight/obesity, alcohol and low physical activity*. Some of the steps people can take to significantly reduce their risk of cancer in 2020 are:

  • Quit smoking. 3 in every 10 cancers are caused by smoking and we would urge all smokers to make quitting their number one goal. 
  • Get physically active. We would advise people to limit their time sitting and aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Regular physical activity helps to protect against some types of cancer coming back and other types of cancer developing. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. After not smoking, this is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer.
  • Be aware of how much alcohol you drink and limit your intake as much as possible. About 900 cancers and 500 cancer deaths are attributed to alcohol every year.

Kevin O’Hagan, Cancer Prevention Manager said, “It’s very positive to see that there’s growing awareness of cancer prevention in Ireland, and that so many people are prepared to make changes to improve their health. The number one thing people can do to lower their risk of cancer is to quit smoking. Three in every ten cancers are caused by smoking and we would urge all smokers to make quitting their number one resolution in 2020. Quitting is really difficult but with the right preparation, support and attitude it can be achieved. 

“Another way people can reduce their risk is by getting physically active in 2020. We would advise people to limit their time sitting and aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. You could challenge yourself to get active in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. Take on a trek, marathon, run or even an extreme challenge, and get fit while supporting people affected by cancer.”

“Being active and having a healthy diet also contributes to maintaining a healthy weight, which after not smoking, is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention. Up to 40% of certain cancers are attributable to being overweight or obese and with most adults in Ireland now weighing more than they should, it is really important we do all we can to maintain a healthy weight to lower the risk of cancer. 

O’Hagan added, “There is also a very real link between alcohol and cancer, with alcohol being directly linked to seven types of cancer. About 900 cancers and 500 cancer deaths are attributed to alcohol every year so I would urge people to be aware of how they drink and limit their intake as much as possible. The New Year is a great opportunity to change a habit and to radically change our approach to alcohol in this country.”

Sign up for one of the Irish Cancer Society’s active challenges or get more information on reducing your risk of cancer.