Women's health * 50+ health * Healthy living * Quit smoking * Weight loss

Western lifestyle causes breast cancer risk

Western lifestyle causes breast cancer risk Obesity, alcohol and lack of exercise to blame

The abundant western diet, alcohol consumption and limited exercise are contributing to breast cancer rates which are four times higher in the UK than in Eastern Africa.

The statistics, from the World Health Organisation's global database of disease prevalence, show that about 87.9 per 100,000 British women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, compared to just 19.3 women per 100,000 in Eastern Africa, which includes Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Britain ranked ninth among high income countries. Belgium leads the tables with 109.4 cases per 100,000 women. France is second with 99.7 cases.

Part of the gap between developed and developing countries might be explained by better diagnostics and record keeping in developed countries, according to the World Cancer Research Fund.

However, the WCRF said that the western lifestyle - obesity, alcohol and little exercise - is a contributing factor in the incidence of breast cancer.

In countries with a lower incidence of breast cancer, breast feeding is more common, as is lower alcohol consumption by women.

In Britain, 46,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually, and the condition kills 12,000 women every year. It is the most common cancer in the UK.

‘The fact that rates of breast cancer are much lower in other parts of the world highlights the fact that breast cancer is not inevitable.

‘This means we need to do more to get across the message that just by making simple changes to lifestyle, such as drinking less alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight, women can reduce their risk.’ said Dr Rachel Thompson, speaking for the WCRF.

This article was published on Mon 9 August 2010

Image © Sheila Eames - Fotolia.com

Related Stories

Use this story

Breast cancer (female)
Link to this page
Printer friendly version

Share this page