Preventing cancer

1 in 3 cancers can be prevented through healthy living.

Learn more about how making healthier choices today can reduce your risk of experiencing cancer in the future. 

Preventing cancer

The way you live can raise or lower your risk of some cancers.

In fact, one third of all cancers occurring in Australia are caused by behaviours that can be changed.[1]  That is good news: it means you can do things to protect yourself from cancer.

Your best protection is healthy living. No matter your age, making healthier choices can reduce your risk of developing some of the most common forms of cancer, including lung cancer, bowel cancer, skin cancer (such as melanoma) and breast cancer.

What you eat and drink, if you smoke, how much you weigh and how physically active you are can all make a difference to your risk of experiencing cancer.

“While cancer can impact anyone, you can reduce your own risk. With the right information and support, we can all make healthy changes to how we live. Quitting smoking, not drinking or limiting alcohol, protecting our skin, eating well and getting regular exercise make a real difference to reduce cancer risk.”

Professor David Currow 
CEO, Cancer Institute NSW


37,000 cancers are preventable each year


What are the leading causes of cancer in Australia?

13.4%25 attributed to smoking tobacco
6.2% attributed to too much UV exposure
6.1% attributed to unhealthy eating
Attributed to getting infections
Attributed to drinking alcohol
Attributed to not being active enough

How we know cancer can be prevented

Our recommendations for preventing cancer are based on evidence from Australia and around the world. We look at different types of research studies, determine their quality and translate the evidence into practical cancer prevention advice. We also fund research in NSW about cancer risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

It is based on this evidence that we know the healthy living decisions you make today can help prevent your risk of cancer in the future.