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About Cancer Prevention

Did you know that a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk for cancer?
About prevention
What you eat, whether you smoke, your level of physical activity, and how much you protect yourself from the sun are all lifestyle choices that can affect your chances of getting cancer, and your chances of preventing it. Alcohol consumption also plays a part in some cancers.

There are some environmental factors which are a risk, depending on the length of time and amount of your exposure. Radon is an example of this in British Columbia and air pollution sometimes, but only where and when officials let you know it is a concern.

Knowing more about cancer risk factors and prevention is important for everyone. But it is also important for cancer survivors because of the possible risk for developing a second primary cancer (a new cancer that is not related to the original one). In fact, if second primary cancers were taken as a group, they would be the sixth most common cancer.

Please see the menu to the right for more information on each of these factors.

How healthy are you?

Assessing your health and potential cancer risk factors can help you make decisions to keep you well. Try our printable quiz and goal sheet

You can also protect yourself through BC Cancer's screening programs, which can detect breast, cervix, colon and lung cancer at early stages.

Our resources

Our Health Promotion Specialists build partnerships and collaborate on public health initiatives, supporting awareness and action in British Columbia regarding lifestyle factors for cancer prevention.



Sun Safe BC is a provincial coalition with members involved in sun safety and skin cancer prevention work.  Coordinated and administered by BC Cancer Prevention Program, the coalition works collaboratively to reduce the risk of exposure to UV and its damaging effects. We do this through policy and health protection measures, and by providing health promotion messaging and education to people in BC, with a particular focus on infants, children and youth.


The following is a list of current coalition member organizations:
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • CAREX Canada
  • Vancouver Coastal Health
  • BC Centre for Disease Control
  • UBC Dermatology
  • Save Your Skin Foundation
  • BC Children’s Hospital
  • BC Cancer 
  • Canadian Dermatology Association
For more information on coalition membership or if you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Breann Corcoran: breann.corcoran at  

Action Areas

  • CAPACITY FOR ACTION - Strengthen capacity among priority population service providers and educators
  • SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENTS - Create and strengthen supportive environments to limit exposure to UV radiation
  • POLICY & DECISION MAKING – Inform decision making and seek to influence sun safe policies, advancing toward provincial policy creation or amendments when and where possible;
  • ATTITUDE, KNOWLEDGE & BEHAVIOUR - Influence and improve attitudes, knowledge and behaviour around sun safety and develop individual skills to keep healthy and avoid UV radiation damage.

Current and past projects

  • Online Training for Early Childhood Educators

    Developed and currently hosting zoom workshops for early childhood educators as part of their professional development requirements.  Early Childhood Educators can play an important role in protecting children from the sun’s rays.

    The course covers important information about skin cancer and ultraviolet radiation, sun protection methods and easy and practical ways to build sun safety into daily routines at childcare centres.  We are working to convert the course to an interactive, online platform and are looking to expand course offering to others working directly with children. 
  • Shade Pilot Project

    We are working with the City of Vancouver to design and install shade solutions for their high UV exposure childcare facilities.  We are currently building a research plan to measure UV exposure and physical activity levels in centres with and without shade sails installed.

  • Sunscreen Dispenser Project

    Members of the coalition have been working to have sunscreen dispensers installed at select park locations during spring/summer months.  To date, sunscreen dispensers have been installed at New Westminster’s Riverfront Park and two park locations in Kelowna. 



For more information or to connect, please email breann.corcoran at or call 604-838-7808.

The Prevention Program is supporting BC Cancer's Smoking Cessation Program, although it is a clinical initative, as it is a natural fit with our expertise.

The BC Cancer Smoking Cessation Program started in September 2019 in all cancer centres across the province. All new BC Cancer patients are asked about their tobacco use. We can then give patients who smoke the information that they need about the benefits of quitting. This can lead to better results from their cancer treatment.

For further information, please visit the Smoking Cessation Program's webpages.


The Prevention Program has several tobacco programs and education modules, which can be found at

  • Stop Smoking Before Surgery / Treatment: information for patients about the benefits of quitting before surgery or treatment
  • CTIP (Clinical Tobacco Intervention Program): for healthcare professionals who wish to learn how to assist patients in their quitting attempts, as well as a "generalist" module for individuals who do not work in healthcare
  • TEAM (Tobacco Education Action Module): for the non-healthcare professional, or any others who wish to assist people with their quit attempts

Camp organizations can play a key role in minimizing UV exposure, by providing an environment that promotes positive sun protection behaviours.  For more information, please read the UV Protection camps brochure

BC Cancer Prevention Program's Sun Safety initiative recognizes those preschool and daycare facilities in BC that have instituted measures to help protect children from harmful exposure to the sun. As a key element of our Sun Safe Program, we issue "Sun Safe Facility" certificates to daycares and preschools that meet essential sun safety requirements.

If your school or daycare wishes to participate in the pre-school / daycare sun awareness certification program, please contact us by e-mail.

For more information, please read the Sun Safe Program fact sheet below.

Some of our sun safety materials for young children can be viewed on our Sun Safety webpage.

For screening programs, see the screening website.


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‎Please visit the Smoking Cessation Program webpages.

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SOURCE: About Cancer Prevention ( )
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