Preventing bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. It is also one of the most preventable.

Many of the risk factors for bowel cancer are down to lifestyle choices such as diet and how active we are, changing the way you and loved ones live could have a big impact on helping to reduce the chance of you developing bowel cancer in your lifetime.

It is estimated that around 45% of bowel cancer cases could be prevented if people followed our cancer prevention recommendations in their day-to-day life.

> Get a copy of our Protect yourself from bowel cancer booklet

How to prevent bowel cancer and reduce your risk

There are 5 key steps you can take to reduce your risk. All of them are based on research from our Global Cancer Update Programme.

Go to a bowel cancer screening

The majority of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated if they are found early – that’s why it’s important to take part in NHS bowel cancer screening whenever you are invited. They are able to detect bowel cancer before symptoms start to show, giving you a much improved chance of combatting the disease.

> Visit the NHS site to find out about bowel cancer screening, symptoms and treatment

Diet to help prevent bowel cancer

As we’ve said, making changes to your diet like cutting down on how much red and processed meat you eat, and eating more plant-based food like vegetable, fruit, and pulses like beans is a big step you can take to help lower your bowel cancer risk.

If you want some ideas of some nutritious and tasty recipes, check out our range of healthy recipes are all designed to be nutritious and flavoursome. Whether you want breakfast, lunch, dinner or even snack ideas, we have a wide range of options for you to browse.

Stay hydrated

As well as eating healthier, keeping hydrated is also really important for our general health and helps to keep our digestive system functioning well. You should be drinking around 6-8 glasses of fluid everyday to stay hydrated. Water is the best option, but lower-fat milk, unsweetened tea and coffee, and sugar free drinks all count. It’s best to avoid how many sugary drinks like cola. This will also mean that you keep within your recommend daily sugar intake (sugar-sweetened drinks contribute the most sugar in the UK diet!)

Help us fund our pioneering research

We fund pioneering research projects to help progress our understanding of bowel cancer and what we can do to prevent it. To date, we have funded 54 bowel cancer research projects. By donating what you can, we can continue to fund these projects and make one of the most preventable cancers, even more preventable.
Can we link to these research projects for those interested?

Prevention FAQs

Here are some common questions we receive around how to reduce your risk of bowel cancer.