Webinar on reducing risk of lung and bowel cancer

Almost 2,600 people are diagnosed with lung cancer, and over 2,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year in Ireland. To help people spot the signs and reduce their risk of these cancers, the HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and Irish Cancer Prevention Network (ICPN) are hosting a free public webinar called ‘Reduce your risk of lung and bowel cancer,’ on Thursday, 1st February at 1pm – 2.15pm.

The webinar will feature expert discussion on how we can reduce our risk of bowel and lung cancer early signs of these cancers importance of seeking medical help promptly if experiencing worrying signs or symptoms.

Dr Triona McCarthy, Consultant in Public Health, HSE NCCP, said: “Each person’s risk of getting cancer is influenced by a wide range of factors. These include things that we can’t change, like our age and genetics, but also things that we can change, such as diet, lifestyle, and physical activity levels. While lung and bowel cancer are two of the commonest cancers in Ireland, there are ways we can reduce our risk.”

“The HSE National Cancer Control Programme and the Irish Cancer Prevention Network aim to reduce cancer risk, by raising awareness of the steps we can all take to lessen our risk of cancer and ensuring that people are provided with information and support to adopt healthy lifestyles.”

Ways to reduce risk of developing lung and bowel cancer

  • Do not start smoking. if you do smoke, quitting reduces cancer risk. See for support and information
  • Be physically active, (any amount of activity is better than none)
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Limit alcohol intake. The less you drink, the lower your risk
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet, including foods high in fibre such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses and avoid processed meat (e.g. bacon, ham, salami, chorizo, and hotdogs) and limit red meat, as these have been linked to bowel cancer
  • Take part in bowel cancer screening – if you are aged 59-69. Log on to or telephone 1800 45 45 55
  • Check radon levels in your home or workplace, and take action to reduce them if necessary.

Lung cancer signs/symptoms

  • New cough lasting more than 3 weeks or a change to your usual cough
  • Breathlessness more than is normal for you
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling very tired all the time, more than is normal for you
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unexplained chest pain
  • Chest infections that keep coming back.

Bowel cancer signs/symptoms

  • Change in your bowel habit for more than 6 weeks (e.g. looser poo, pooing more often, or constipation)
  • Unexplained bleeding from your back passage
  • Unexplained pain in your tummy or back passage
  • Unexplained lump or swelling in your tummy
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling very tired all the time, more than is normal for you.

If you do notice possible sign(s) of lung or bowel cancer you should contact your GP without delay.

Dr Una Kennedy, GP Advisor to the HSE NCCP, urges people to know the signs and symptoms of cancer: “If you notice any changes or something different for you, call your GP immediately. If cancer is found early, before it has grown bigger or spread to other parts of the body, it’s easier to treat and there is a better chance of curative treatment and long-term survival.”

The webinar marks World Cancer Day which takes place on Sunday, 4 February, 2024. World Cancer Day is an international health awareness day held each year to promote awareness of risk factors for cancer and empower individuals and populations to take action to reduce cancer risk. Follow the World Cancer Day conversation online #ICPN #WCD2024.

Register here to watch the live webinar or to receive the recording to watch back.

Visit for more information and resources.

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