In 1999, it was calculated that each woman had a 1 in 9 chance of getting breast cancer, however more recent figures show that the risk has risen to 1 in 8.
Why have risks increased?
Unfortunately there’s no simple answer to this, as breast cancer is a complicated disease. It could be down to several things:
Screenings: More women are now invited for breast cancer screenings, so it could be partly down to better breast cancer detection rates.
Lifestyle factors: All sorts of lifestyle factors can be taken into consideration. Evidence shows that drinking alcohol boosts our risk of breast cancer, as alcohol raises the levels of oestrogen in the blood. Drinking more and exercising less are also risk factors.
Being overweight after the menopause also gives you a higher risk of breast cancer, as does having children later on in life.
What about survival rates?
The good news is that survival rates have gone up – now more than 2/3 of women diagnosed with breast cancer are surviving for 20 years or more.
Can I reduce my risk of getting cancer?
According to Cancer Research UK, the best way to lower your breast cancer risk is to cut back on alcohol and eat a diet high in fibre and low in saturated fat to keep a healthy body weight.