Things you should do to reduce your cancer risk

The causes of cancer are complex, but according to Cancer Council Queensland, many cases can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices.

At least one third of cancer cases are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices, with four of the top five most commonly diagnosed cancers in Queensland – lung, bowel, melanoma and breast cancers – among the most preventable.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan reveals some ways you can reduce your risk:


Achieve a healthy weight
Evidence shows that being overweight or obese significantly increases your risk of some types of cancer, including cancers of the bowel, breast and oesophagus.

Eat a healthy diet
Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre, low in fat and kilojoules, and can help you maintain a healthy weight. Fruit and vegetables also contain natural protective substances. On the other hand, eating red meat and, in particular, processed meat, may increase the risk of bowel cancer. So, to reduce your risk, eat five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit each day, limit red meat intake to less than 500 grams a week and avoid eating processed meats.

Be physically active
Incorporating one hour of moderate activity or 30 minutes of vigorous activity into everyday life can reduce your risk of some cancers.

Cut down on alcohol
Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, bowel, liver and female breast. Cancer Council Queensland recommends people drink within the national guidelines for alcohol consumption, which is no more than two standard drinks a day.

Don’t smoke
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease, causing 16 different cancer types. For support to quit, contact your doctor or call Quitline on 13 7848.

Protect yourself from the sun
The sun’s UV radiation is the major cause of skin cancer, so Slip on protective clothing, Slop on minimum SPF30 broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunglasses when you head outdoors.

For more information about how you can reduce your cancer risk, visit