Reduce the risk of developing cancer

Around 360,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK. But experts estimate that 4 in 10 cancer cases could be prevented through lifestyle changes. These include: 

Not smoking

This is the largest single cause of cancer in the UK leading to almost 1 in 5 of all cancers, particularly lung cancer. The best way to reduce risk of cancer for smokers and to improve their overall health is to stop smoking completely. For information on reducing or stopping smoking contact the Wandsworth Stop Smoking Service. Additional information on quitting smoking is also available on NHS Smokefree and Cancer UK websites.

Healthy and balanced diet

1 in 20 cancers can be linked to dietary factors in the UK. Eating a healthy and balanced diet can help reduce risk of developing such cancer. For more information about healthy eating and local weight management programmes, see healthy eating pages or speak to your GP. Additional information is also available on Diet and cancer on Cancer Research UK website.

Healthy bodyweight and keeping active

Obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. More than 1 in 20 cancer cases are caused by excess weight. Risks are higher if a person gains more weight and stays overweight for longer periods of time. Small changes in physical activity and diet can significantly lead to improvement in healthy bodyweight. Visit Cancer Research UK to learn how bodyweight effects cancer.

There are many services in Wandsworth that can help you get active to stay fit or reduce bodyweight. Enable Leisure and Sport works on behalf of Wandsworth Council to deliver a wide range of leisure services for children, youth, adults and elderly people. Cycling is another cheap, efficient and healthy form of transport that can help people get physically active.

It is important to understand the importance of physical activity at a young age. People who stay physically active since childhood can significantly improve their chances of preventing cancer and illnesses related to high bodyweight later in life.

Reducing alcohol consumption

Experts recommend that reducing alcohol could cut the risk of developing cancer as 4% of cancer are linked to excessive alcohol. Reducing alcohol can also help prevent accidents and injuries, stroke, high blood pressure, liver disease and pancreatitis.

Support, advice and treatment options are available in Wandsworth for people worried about their drinking. For more information about how you can reduce your alcohol intake, contact your GP or local alcohol support services.

Reducing high levels of sunlight exposure

While exposing to sunlight for 30 minutes a day can help the body produce vitamin D for building and maintaining strong bones, too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from sunbeds or natural sunshine can increase risk of developing skin cancer. It is recommended that sunbeds should be avoided and a high protection factor sunscreen be used when going out in the sun. Cancer Research UK offers some advice to enjoy the sun safely.

Visit the council’s One You page or Battersea Healthcare Website for additional links to local services that can help you.