12 ways to reduce your cancer risk


icon-screening Take part in organized cancer screening programmes for:

  • Bowel cancer (men and women)
  • Breast cancer (women)
  • Cervical cancer (women).

Some types of cancer can be found and treated before they cause symptoms. Checking for cancer, or for conditions that may lead to cancer, in people who have no symptoms is called screening. The main aim of cancer screening is to prevent death from cancer. Screening can also make it possible to use less severe treatment methods if the cancer is detected early enough. For some cancers, such as cervical cancer and bowel cancer, screening can actually prevent the cancer from developing.

In the European Union, screening is recommended for bowel, breast, and cervical cancer when offered as part of an organized programme with adequate resources for high quality. Organized breast cancer screening programmes are currently established in most European Union countries, and organized bowel cancer and cervical cancer screening programmes are available in many (More information about organized programmes).

Comprehensive guidelines covering all aspects of bowel, breast and cervical cancer screening have been developed by experts and published by the European Commission. These European Guidelines provide guiding principles and detailed protocols, standards and recommendation that, if followed, ensure that screening services of high quality are provided to the population (More information about quality in cancer screening).

If you would like to participate in cancer screening but are unsure whether a programme exists in your country, contact the department of health.