Cancer prevention

Learn how a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of cancer

Did you know? 4 out of 10 cancer cases can be prevented. For example, we can watch what we eat, choose not to smoke, limit our alcohol consumption and take regular exercise. 

Healthy habits to reduce your cancer risk

Stopping cancer before it starts is a key goal of the Irish Cancer Society. In the sections below you can learn how to reduce your cancer risk by having healthy habits in your daily life.

Alcohol and cancer

Alcohol increases the risk of cancer in both men and women. The more alcohol you drink, the higher the risk.

Your weight and cancer

Maintaining a healthy weight is an important way to reduce your risk of cancer.

Your diet and cancer

Limiting food that's high in sugar, salt and fat, and eating more fruits, vegetables, grains and pulses can help reduce cancer risk.

What is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)?

HPV has also been strongly linked to a number of cancers including cervical, anal, mouth and throat, vulva, vagina and penis.

Exercise and cancer

Regular exercise reduces the risk of several cancers like breast, bowel and uterine and may prevent lung cancer.

Smoking and cancer

Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, but is also a risk factor in several other cancers like mouth, head and neck, stomach, pancreas, and more.

Protect yourself from the sun

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland, with most cases caused by UV rays from the sun.

Men's health

Almost 13,000 Irish men are diagnosed with cancer each year.

mens- health

12 ways to reduce your cancer risk

The European Code Against Cancer, developed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the European Commission 2014,  aims to inform people about actions they can take for themselves or their families to reduce their risk of cancer.

Cancer specialists and scientists from across Europe compiled the code based on the latest scientific evidence on cancer prevention. It consists of 12 recommendations that most people can follow without any special skills or advice. The more recommendations people follow, the lower their risk of cancer will be.

Download or order our leaflet on 12 ways to reduce your cancer risk. 


12 ways to reduce your cancer risk leaflet


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Spot cancer early

Information on how to check your body for changes that could be cancer.


What causes cancer?

Information about the causes of cancer, including genes, carcinogens and mutagens and more.


Men’s Health

Information about male-specific cancer risks and prevention tactics, including warning signs and publications.


Early detection

Information about spotting cancer early, screening for different types of cancer, and how cancer is diagnosed.


Diagnosing cancer

Information on tests to expect when experience a possible symptom of cancer.


Community partnerships

Information about how the Irish Cancer Society works with local community groups and organisations to raise awareness and reduce cancer risk.

Looking for support?


1800 775 885