London: Lifestyle Putting British Women At Greater Cancer Risk: WHO

1 Aug

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Video: British Women At ‘Greater Cancer Risk’ 

British women are 17% more likely to develop cancer by the age of 75 than the average European woman, according to research by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It is believed the discrepancy is because of growing rates of obesity and alcohol consumption in the UK.

On average, one fifth of women across Europe will develop cancer by the age of 75 but as many as a quarter of women in Britain will suffer from a form of cancer before that age according to the WHO.

Some suggest that genetics play a large part in people’s likelihood to get cancer, but experts believe a third of the most common forms could be avoided if people ate healthily and exercised.


Being physically active and eating a healthy plant-based diet, without too much salt or red and processed meat, are thought to be ways to make a difference to the number of women who develop cancer before the age of 75.

For breast cancer, the most common type of cancer in women, experts estimate around four in 10 cases could be prevented purely through lifestyle changes.

Richard Evans from the World Cancer Research Fund said he is not surprised by the research findings: “As a country, we tend to be more overweight than the European average and we tend to drink more alcohol, so it is not entirely surprising that the results are what they are.

“Ultimately it is down to us as a country to make changes and to be aware that these kind of lifestyle factors do influence your cancer risk.”

Professor Paul Moss, head of the Cancer Research UK Centre, said: “We think a lot about heart disease but we tend not to think too much about the cancer risk when it comes to diet.

“Some of the charities suggest that if we improve our lifestyle we could reduce the incidence of breast cancer by about 40%, so it really is quite dramatic.”

Claire Footitt was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. After years of battling the disease she is now in remission.

While she does not believe her illness had anything to do with her lifestyle, she said she makes sure she looks after herself.

“You have got to think about diet,” she said.

“One thing I do is make sure I eat correctly. (If you do not) it can slow down your system and clog up your arteries … It is a knock on effect.

“Do you want to go through something like I did? No, you would never want to go through that.”


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