1 in 4 breast cancers potentially preventable

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Cancer Australia has today launched an extensive new website that provides up-to-date evidence-based information on 68 risk factors for breast cancer.

The Breast Cancer Risk Factors website categorises and details risk factors, protective factors, modifiable factors and factors that are unproven or unlikely on an accessible platform with interactive features.

“Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, however almost I in 4 of these cases are potentially preventable,” said Dr Helen Zorbas, CEO, Cancer Australia.

“This website is a powerful tool that will shape our future conversations around breast cancer. Women can now readily access the most accurate information, based on the highest quality evidence, on which they can act.” 

The website builds on our existing knowledge and identifies modifiable factors that increase or decrease the risk of breast cancer.”

“While we can’t change growing older or our family history, which are the most important risk factors for breast cancer, we can make positive changes to reduce our risk.”

“The evidence is convincing that drinking alcohol increases risk for breast cancer. Drinking just one standard glass of alcohol daily is shown to increase risk by 7% and the risk increases the more alcohol that is consumed.”

“For postmenopausal women, being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. For each 5kg weight gain, the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer increases by about 6%.”

“Active women of all ages are at a reduced risk of breast cancer compared to women who do not exercise. The more active you are, the greater the benefits,” said Dr Zorbas.

“Research is shedding more light on certain risk factors. For example, many studies now show tobacco smoking may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, where previously findings were inconclusive.”

“The latest science also suggests that consuming dairy, calcium in food, and vegetables may reduce the risk of breast cancer.”

“This comprehensive, accessible tool will help women to better understand risks associated with personal factors, family history and genetics, reproductive and lifestyle factors and medical history factors,” said Dr Zorbas.

The Breast Cancer Risk Factors website has layers of information describing the evidence on each factor and is based on Cancer Australia’s Risk factors for breast cancer: A review of the evidence 2018, which is also published online today.

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