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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 and colon cancer at early stages.

Our team

BC Cancer’s Prevention Program has Cancer Prevention Specialists (CP Specialists) who build partnerships and collaborate on public health initiatives, supporting awareness and action in British Columbia regarding lifestyle factors for cancer prevention.

Please contact Kathy Pym at 604-877-6227 for further information.

Breann Corcoran

Specht_Jun09.jpgBreann holds a Masters degree in Population and Public health and has over eleven years experience in the health sector, both locally and internationally. As a Community Developer with Vancouver Coastal Health, Breann's work focused on improving the health and well being of her community through capacity building, partnership development, facilitating access to information and services, and creating supportive environments. Breann has also worked in health human resource planning, global tobacco control, HIV/AIDS control and prevention, and health promotion. Teaching has become a growing interest for Breann and she is currently teaching a public health course to naturopath students.

Halla Elmobayad

Elmobayad.jpgHalla completed her Masters degree in Health Administration at UBC and has 15+ years experience in organizational strategy and program development in the BC healthcare system. Her Masters thesis investigated childhood screening for dysfunction and disease, which led her to focus her career on disease prevention. For 5 years Halla was the Strategic Director at the Vancouver Division of Family Practice, which allowed her to work closely with the Ministry of Health, General Practice Services Committee and Doctors of BC, to improve the patient and doctor experience in BC's healthcare system. Her portfolio included community development to streamline patient access to physician care, health literature and hospital services, to improve overall population health. Most recently, she is focussing on the integration of knowledge translation and health literacy into disease prevention program development at BC Cancer.

Cheryl Colby

Cheryl Colby has been a health and fitness professional for over 20 years, and has a Bachelor of Human Kinetics degree. Cheryl has served as the Director of Personal Training at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club as well as Jericho Tennis Club, and was one of the original trainers for Lifeworks Health Systems, one of Canada’s leading corporate health and wellness companies. As a personal trainer and health and fitness coordinator, Cheryl has experience with a variety of populations, including children, seniors of all ages, rehabilitation, pre/post natal, athletic training (including tennis and golf), boot camp, special needs and weight loss.
Cheryl believes that everyone deserves a healthy lifestyle, and with her passion for health and people, delivers a positive, energetic approach to her work.

Our resources

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


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 Vivian Wong at (604) 877-6299.

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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