UK women face greater cancer risk

Almost a fifth more women in the UK develop the disease before the age of 75 compared with those on the continent, official figures warn.

Excessive eating and drinking could be causing more women in the UK to develop cancer, warns The World Cancer Research Fund.

25 per cent of women will develop cancer by the age of 75 across Britain, according to World Health Organisation figures.

Shockingly, this is almost 20 per cent more than the average of 21 per cent recorded across Europe.

‘On average, women in the UK are more likely to be overweight and to drink more alcohol than the European average and this is a concern because both these factors increase cancer risk,’ says Dr Rachel Thompson, Deputy Head of Science for WCRF.

‘There is now very strong evidence that women who drink a lot of alcohol are at increased risk of developing the disease and that excess body fat is also an important risk factor,’ she added.

Four our of 10 Britons will develop the disease during their lives.

Recent reports from The Office for National Statistics signal that 130,043 women were diagnosed with the disease in England alone in 2009 – a rise of 2.6 per cent on the previous year.

‘One of the big public health challenges we face today is to reduce the amount of alcohol we drink as a nation and to get a grip on the obesity crisis before it spirals out of control,’ says Dr Thompson.

‘About a third of the most common cancers could be prevented by eating healthily, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

And for breast cancer, which is the most common type of cancer, about four in 10 cases could be prevented through lifestyle changes.’

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