Global rise in breast cancer due to 'Western lifestyles'
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
Thursday, 24 January 2008
Of all the exports from our modern world, breast cancer ranks as among the most dubious. Once thought to be a disease of the rich, it is now a global epidemic.
The rise of the cancer in Europe and America – cases have jumped 80 per cent in the UK since the 1970s – is being mirrored across the world. And scientists say increasing prosperity and the "Westernisation" of traditional lifestyles is to blame.
A richer diet, smaller families, delayed childbearing and reduced breast-feeding have driven the increase in the West, together with rising obesity and increased alcohol consumption, specialists say. Now these trends are being seen everywhere – with a growing burden of malignant disease in their wake.
An estimated 1.3 million new cases were diagnosed around the world last year. It is the commonest cancer in the UK and across Europe, even though it affects almost only one gender. In 2006, it outranked lung cancer, which affects both sexes, for the first time. MORE >>>