Five simple ways to reduce your cancer risk

Five simple ways to reduce your cancer risk

Studies estimate that as many as half of all cancers in Ontario could be prevented by eliminating known risk factors like smoking, lack of exercise and poor eating habits. Not all cancers are preventable, but there are ways to reduce your cancer risk. Here are five habits you can incorporate for a healthier lifestyle:

Cancer screening

Thousands of Ontario residents are alive and healthy today because they were screened and were able to either prevent cancer or find it early when it’s easier to treat and beat. For more information on the province’s organized breast, cervical and colon cancer screening programs including
eligibility and how to participate, visit

Dr. Amy Montour stands in front of the Mobile Cancer Screening Coach with her parents
Dr. Amy Montour and cancer screening coach

Cancer Care Ontario’s online risk assessment tool allows Ontario residents to determine their risk for six types of cancer — breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, melanoma and kidney. Participants receive a personalized risk assessment and action plan including information on how to reduce the risks.

Cut back or quit tobacco

If you’re a tobacco user, consider cutting back or quitting altogether. Your best chance for success is through a combination of medication and support. Talk to your healthcare provider about Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) such as patches, gum, lozenges, mouth spray and inhalers. For support, consider contacting Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 or visit

Eating well

By eating a variety of foods each day, your body gets the nutrients needed for good health. Your diet should focus on balance, moderation and variety with an emphasis on vegetables, fruit and fibre. Visit Canada’s Food Guide for helpful tips on eating well.

a measuring tape wrapped around a sandwich

Physical activity

You don’t need to take up a sport to be physically active. Every day activities like walking the dog, gardening and household chores help keep your body moving. Check out the Public Health Agency of Canada’s tip sheets for great ways to ensure physical activity is part of your daily routine.