Cancer Prevention

4 out of 10 cancers cancers could be prevented. On this page you will learn how prevent cancer and to reduce your risk. You will also find resources for your use.

Cancer Prevention: How to reduce your risk

Do not smoke or use any form of tobacco. Make your home, car and workplace smoke free. For support to quit smoking go to or call 1800 201 203.

Be a healthy body weight.  Take action to be a healthy body weight throughout life, from childhood to adulthood.

Be physically active. Be physically active in everyday life as much as possible.

Enjoy eating a healthy varied diet.  Eat plenty of wholegrains, fruit and vegetables. Limit high-calorie foods such as “fast foods”, sugary drinks and foods high in sugar or fat.  Avoid processed meat. If you eat red meat like beef, pork and lamb, limit about three portions per week.

It’s best not to drink alcohol for cancer prevention. If you must drink alcohol stay below the recommended low risk guidelines. Be aware there is no safe limit of alcohol for cancer prevention. Alcohol eases the transfer of cancer causing substances in cigarettes through the body. Especially to the mouth, head and neck.

Protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation from the sun and artificial sources. Follow the Healthy Ireland SunSmart 5’Ss from April to September. Slip on clothing that covers your skin such as, long sleeves, collared t-shirts. Slop on sunscreen on exposed areas, using factor 30+ for adults and 50+ for children. Slap on a wide-brimmed hat. Seek shade – especially if outdoors between 11am and 3pm - and always use a sunshade on a child’s buggy. Slide on sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Never use a sunbed.

Find out if you are exposed to radiation from naturally high radon levels in your home. The Environmental Protection Agency website provides information on how to check your home. It is especially important to follow this advice if you are a current or ex-smoker. Smoking and radon exposure combined greatly increase your risk of lung cancer.

If you can, breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s cancer risk.

Ensure your children take part in national vaccination programmes. Hepatitis B for newborns. Human papillomavirus (HPV) for girls and boys in secondary school.

Limit use of HRT.Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk of certain cancers in women.

Take part in organised cancer screening programmes. Click on links for more information about bowel screening, breast screening, cervical screening .

 The Irish Cancer Prevention Network Steps to Reduce Your Cancer image shows you how you can reduce your cancer risk.   

The Irish Cancer Prevention Network  

The Irish Cancer Prevention Network (ICPN) aims to reduce cancer risk for the people of Ireland.

The ICPN consists of the HSE National Cancer Control Programme, Breakthrough Cancer Research, the Marie Keating Foundation, the National Screening ServicesIrish Cancer Society and the Irish Skin Foundation. The ICPN will continue to grow, supporting and collaborating on cancer prevention initiatives.


ICPN Newsletters


For more information contact