One in 8 British women will get breast cancer: study

Breast cancer rates in Britain increased over the last decade, with one in eight women now expected to develop the disease at some point in their life, figures released by a cancer charity showed Friday.

The number of women diagnosed with the disease in 2008 was 47,700, up from 42,400 cases in 1999, according to Cancer Research UK data.

The figures, released on World Cancer Day, revealed that there were 124 cases diagnosed per 100,000 British women in 2008, compared with 120 in 1999, representing a rise from one in nine women to one in eight.

Experts pinpointed lifestyle factors including alcohol consumption, obesity and the fall in birth rate as contributing factors.

The biggest jump occurred among women aged between 50 and 69, where cases rose by six percent. Rates among women aged between 25 and 49 fell by 0.5 percent.

However, the number of women surviving the disease increased with more than 75 percent of women now living for more than 10 years after developing the cancer.

Almost 65 percent of women with breast cancer now live for 20 years beyond diagnosis.

British women over 50 qualify for a screening every three years, and around 1.5 million women are screened in the country every year.

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's director of health information, said: "Women cannot change their genes but small changes in everyday habits can help to reduce cancer risk.

"Cutting back on alcohol by keeping within Government recommended limits of no more than 14 units a week (a small drink a day) helps.

"Taking more exercise and eating a diet high in fibre but low in saturated fat can help maintain a healthy weight - which in turn reduces breast cancer risk.

"Women should also discuss hormone replacement therapy with their doctor as long-term use can raise breast cancer risk."

jwp/ach

 

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