Cancer Care Program

Comprehensive information about cancer prevention, screening, treatment, and care for Nova Scotians.

Tips for Protecting Your Health

It is estimated that about one third of cases of the most common cancers can be prevented through healthy food choices, regular physical activity and a healthy body weight. An additional one third of all cases of cancer can be prevented by choosing not to smoke and avoiding exposure to second hand smoke.

The choices that we make, healthy or otherwise, are influenced by many things – some within our individual control and some not. In the end, preventing cancer and staying health is everyone's job.

  • Be a non-smoker and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Eat 5 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day. Choose high fibre, lower fat foods. If you drink alcohol, limit your intake to 1 to 2 drinks a day.
  • Be physically active on a regular basis - this will also help you maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Protect yourself and your family from the sun. Reduce sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Check your skin regularly and report any changes to your doctor.
  • Follow cancer screening guidelines. For women, discuss mammograms, Pap tests and breast exams with a health professional. For men, discuss testicular exams and prostate screening with a health professional. Both men and women should also discuss screening for colon and rectal cancers.
  • Visit your doctor or dentist if you notice a change in your normal state of health.
  • Follow health and safety instructions both at home and at work when using, storing and disposing of hazardous materials.

Tobacco Free Nova Scotia

For help quitting smoking:

  • Visit Tobacco Free Nova Scotia
  • 811
  • Call Nova Scotia Public Health (toll-free) at:
    • 1-866-366-3667 (English)
    • 1-866-527-7383 (French)

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

These practical tips will help you get started:

  • Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight
  • Be physically active as part of everyday life
  • Limit food and drinks that cause weight gain
  • Eat mostly foods of plant origin
  • Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meats
  • Limit alcoholic drinks
  • Limit the amount of salt you eat
  • Try to meet your nutritional needs through diet alone, rather than through dietary supplements

Guidance on Alcohol and Health

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) has released updated Canadian guidance on alcohol and health. Alcohol is one of the leading preventable causes of death, disease and disability worldwide. Alcohol use is a contributing cause of more than 200 diseases and health conditions, including 7 types of cancer:

  • Mouth and throat 
  • Esophagus and larynx 
  • Breast
  • Stomach
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Colon

Information about consuming alcohol

  • Alcohol causes nearly 7,000 cancer deaths each year in Canada.
  • Nova Scotia has a culture of alcohol use that sees people drinking more alcohol, and more heavily, than most Canadians.
  • Drinking alcohol always has some risk
  • How much and how often a person drinks alcohol can affect their health.  
  • The health risks increase with each additional drink and with how often you drink.

The updated guidance on alcohol and health advises that if you choose to drink, it is better to drink less. Not drinking has many benefits, including better health and better sleep. Your risk of cancer increases when you consume 3 or more standard drinks in a week. Each additional drink increases your risk more.

The risk for alcohol-related harms is strongly influenced by our social, economic and physical environments, including:

  • Availability and cost
  • Social and cultural norms around drinking
  • Coping with loss of cultural identity, racism, stigma and discrimination
  • Economic resources


Learn ways to put the new guidance on alcohol and health into practice:

Sun Safety


Skin cancer rates have been increasing steadily in Canada over the past 30 years and Nova Scotia has one of the highest rates of melanoma skin cancer in Canada. Overexposure to the sun is the primary environmental cause of skin cancer.

Use these helpful resources to stay safe in the sun:

At Work

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and Health Canada in cooperation with the Canadian Dermatology Association promotes sun safety thought the Sun Safety at Work program.

Find useful information and support at the Sun Safety at Work Resource Library.

For more information, email