Cancer is one of the leading threats to health in BC. This year, more than twenty-two thousand British Columbians will be diagnosed with cancer, and over nine thousand will die of cancer.
However, up to 50% of cancers can be prevented. Modifiable risks include tobacco smoking, nutrition, alcohol consumption, sun protection, physical activity, and body weight, as well as occupational and environmental exposure to carcinogens, and infections.
The Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention conducts research on cancer prevention interventions. For more information on our current projects, see our research.
How can I prevent cancer?
Reducing cancer risk factors will significantly reduce the likelihood of getting cancer.
Here’s what you can do:
- Eliminate tobacco use
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Increase physical activity
- Boost fruit and vegetable consumption
- Limit exposure to sunlight (UV radiation)
- Reduce exposure to carcinogenic substances at home, work, and in the environment
Consult with your physician before making any lifestyle changes. For more information on how to reduce your cancer risk, see our key cancer sources.
What are current Canadian risk factor statistics?
Following a healthy lifestyle can prevent at least half of all cancers. However, many Canadians are not making healthy choices to reduce their risk. We developed these charts to help researchers, community groups, practitioners, and others to better understand how Canadians can improve their health and reduce their cancer risk. We also wanted to provide a user-friendly resource for reports and presentations. We have provided data for major risks in one location, simplifying access.
We have prepared charts to present current cancer risk statistics for all provinces and territories, as available for the major cancer risk factors: alcohol, fruit and vegetable consumption, obesity, physical activity, UV exposure, and tobacco. These charts are available as high-resolution images for use in presentations and other application. The obesity maps are also available in an animated format (gif). To access these charts, see our resource section or see below.
Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention - Canadians who had 5 or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past 12 months (age 20+, both sexes)
Canadian Cancer Society — What is a risk factor? Alcohol
Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse — National Alcohol Strategy
Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention - Canadians eating fruits and vegetables less than 5 times per day (age 20+, both sexes)
BC Cancer Agency — Nutrition and exercise to prevent cancer
Dietitians of Canada
Health Canada — Canada’s Food Guide
EatRight Ontario — Menu Planner
World Cancer Research Fund
Public Health Agency of Canada — Cancer and the environment
Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control — Prevention of occupational and environmental cancers in Canada
Commonweal — USA
The Collaborative on Health and the Environment — USA
Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention - Canadians who were physically inactive during leisure time (age 20+, both sexes)
BC Cancer Agency — Nutrition and exercise to prevent cancer websites
Public Health Agency of Canada — Physical activity guidelines
Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention - Canadians who had at least one sunburn during the summer (age 16+, both sexes)
Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention - Canadians not practicing sun protection (age 20+, both sexes)
Canadian Dermatology Association — Skin cancer
Canadian Dermatology Association — Sun safety
Environment Canada — How to find your UV index
Environmental Working Group — Sunscreen reviews
Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention - Canadians who currently smoke cigarettes daily (age 20+, both sexes)
Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention - Canadians exposed to second-hand smoke in the past month (age 20+, both sexes)
BC Lung Association
Health Canada — On the road to quitting
Propel Centre for Population Health Impact - Tobacco control