The aim of this study was to investigate the actual and the potential role of the primary care nurse (PCN)in the prevention of cancer. International studies have indicated that a range of strategies can have an impacton the incidence of cancer. Due to their frequent front-line contact with the public, PCNs can play an importantrole in the primary prevention of cancer. Nonetheless, there is a lack of information on their actual andpotential role in cancer prevention. A sequential confirmatory mixed methods approach was used. Postalquestionnaires were administered to PCNs [n = 500; 225 returns (response rate 45%)] followed by semistructuredinterviews (n = 15). PCNs provided high levels of cancer prevention activities, specifically focusingon smoking cessation, obesity and cervical screening.They considered that their cancer prevention role could be improved through additional practice-basedtraining and more collaborative inter-professional working. They also identified the need for a better understandingof how to change people’s attitudes and behaviours regarding cancer prevention. Evidence from thisstudy provide important insights into the potential of the PCN to empower individuals to take responsibilityfor their own health and make more informed lifestyle choices.