UK breast cancer rate higher than East Africa

Breast cancer rates are more than four times higher in the UK than in Eastern Africa, figures showed today.

Some 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.

The statistics come from the World Health Organisation's global database of disease prevalence.

Eastern Africa includes countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) said some of the difference is because British doctors are better at diagnosing and recording cases.

However, it warned that British lifestyles - including a high incidence of obesity, too much drinking and a lack of exercise - were contributing to high rates of breast cancer at home.

Research has shown that around four out of 10 cases in British women could be prevented if women kept to a healthy weight, drank less alcohol and were more active.

Women in Eastern Africa drink much less alcohol than British women and obesity is far less common. They are also much more likely to breastfeed - which lowers the rates of breast cancer even further.

According to the statistics, the highest rates of breast cancer in the world are in Belgium, which had 109.4 cases per 100,000 women in 2008.

Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK, with around 46,000 new cases each year. The disease kills about 12,000 British women annually.

Dr Rachel Thompson, deputy head of science for the WCRF, said: "The fact that breast cancer rates in Eastern Africa are so much lower than in the UK is a stark reminder that, every year in this country, thousands of women are diagnosed with a case of cancer that could have been prevented.

"That such a large difference in breast cancer rates exists between these two areas is a real concern.

"Also, it is not just Eastern Africa that has significantly lower breast cancer rates.

"The rate here is double that of South America, for example, and more than three times that of Eastern Asia.

"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 relatively simple changes to our lifestyle such as drinking less alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight, women can reduce their risk of breast cancer."

Dr Caitlin Palframan, policy manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: "It is difficult to directly compare these two populations side by side as it is likely that many breast cancer cases in Eastern Africa are not diagnosed or recorded.

"Breast cancer is thought to be due to a combination of lifestyle, genetic and environmental factors and many of these may differ between the UK and other populations.

"Although some risk factors cannot be changed women can reduce their risk by drinking less alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly."

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

    £40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

    Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before