By adopting a healthy lifestyle, women can prevent the occurrence of fatal breast cancer by almost a half, a new study has claimed.
If women do more exercise, eat a balanced diet and reduce their alcohol consumption, about 42 per cent of all breast cancer cases in the UK can be prevented, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) said in a report.
There were approximately 47,600 new cases of breast cancer in the UK in 2008 — the most recent year for available figures. WCRF estimates about 42 per cent of these – roughly 20,000 cases — could have been prevented through healthier lifestyle choices.
The figures, which were released to mark WCRF’s Cancer Prevention Week, have led the charity to call on women to make the lifestyle changes necessary to cut their breast cancer risk.
Dr Rachel Thompson, Deputy Head of Science at WCRF, said: “These figures show that we still have a long way to go to raise awareness about what women can do to prevent breast cancer.
“It is very worrying that in the UK there are still tens of thousands of cases of breast cancer which could be prevented every year. Breast cancer can be prevented by cutting down on drinking, being more physically active and carrying less body fat.
“There is convincing evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer. In postmenopausal women there is convincing evidence that body fatness also increases risk and there is evidence that regular physical activity probably reduces the risk of breast cancer.”