Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The causes of breast cancer aren’t fully understood. The genes you inherit, your environment, and how you live your life all play a part in contributing to your risk of developing breast cancer. In this section you’ll find some of the most common breast cancer questions answered, including how breast cancer develops, how common it is and how your hormones play a role in determining your level of risk.

Incidence of Breast Cancer in the UK

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK population. It represented 15% of all new cancer cases in 2017 and is the most common cancer in women, globally
  • In UK women, around 54,700 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in 2017
  • In men, there were around 390 new cases in 2017 
  • 17% of breast cancers were in women under 50, between 2015-2017 
  • 24% of breast cancers occurred in women over 75 between 2015-2017

The growth of breast cancer over the years

Breast cancer in UK women has:

  • increased by 23% between 1993 and 2017 
  • increased by 5% between 2007 to 2017 
  • dropped by 4% between 2014 and 2017

Rates for men have remained stable over the past two decades

The overall risk of getting breast cancer

  • A woman born after 1960 and living in the UK has an estimated 1 in 7 lifetime risk of developing breast cancer
  • A UK man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is around 1 in 870

Breast cancer prevention 

  • The proportion of breast cancer cases that can be prevented is estimated to be between 23%-37%.

Everyone is born with a degree of susceptibility to breast cancer. Women are more susceptible than men.  But the choices you make in your daily life can influence your level of risk. From the things you eat to the chemicals you expose yourself to, all of these can help determine whether you’re at higher or lower risk of the disease. The good news is you have a certain amount of control over these factors. Make yourself aware of ways in which you are at increased risk and try to modify your lifestyle and behaviour accordingly. 

Diet & Weight

Chemicals and Environment

Exercise and Activity


More information can be found here

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