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Bowel cancer health centre

Preventing bowel cancer

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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There are several ways to reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer.


Research suggests a low-fat, high-fibre diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day) and wholegrains can help reduce your risk of getting bowel cancer. It can also reduce your risk of developing other types of cancer and heart disease.

It is recommended you do not eat a lot of processed meat and red meat. The Department of Health advises people who eat more than 90 grams (cooked weight) of red and processed meat a day to cut down to 70 grams. Read more information about  red meat and bowel cancer risk.

Read more information about eating good food and a healthy diet.


There is strong evidence to suggest regular exercise can lower the risk of developing bowel and other cancers.

It is recommended adults exercise for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e. cycling or fast walking) every week.

Read more information about health and fitness.

Healthy weight

Try to maintain a healthy weight. Changes to your diet and an increase in physical activities will help keep your weight under control. Find out if you are a healthy weight with the Healthy weight calculator.

Read more information about losing weight.


If you smoke, giving up will reduce your risk of developing bowel and other cancers.

The free NHS Smoking Helpline can offer advice and encouragement to help you quit smoking. Call 0300 123 1044 or visit the NHS Smokefree website.

Your GP or pharmacist can also provide help, support and advice if you want to give up smoking.

Read more information about quitting smoking.

Medical Review: August 27, 2012

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