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Women lack information to reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence

Pink Ribbon Day - 22 OCTOBER 2012

One in four women who have had breast cancer are not aware that lifestyle changes may significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, according to a survey conducted by Cancer Australia of women in Australia diagnosed with breast cancer.

Cancer Australia CEO Professor Helen Zorbas said, “Despite survival rates continually improving in Australia, we continue to hear the most common concern for women following treatment for breast cancer is uncertainty about the future and fear of a recurrence.

“The evidence suggests lifestyle factors such as moderate levels of physical activity can reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer by 24% and reduce the risk of death by more than one third compared with inactive women.

“This means for women who feel well enough, undertaking as little as 3 hours of physical activity such as brisk walking or cycling each week could help them stay healthy.”

The survey, conducted through consumer organisation Breast Cancer Network Australia, also showed that women were actively seeking information about ways to stay well after breast cancer from multiple sources.

Additionally, the survey results showed that almost half of women who were aware of these lifestyle actions were not given information about this by any of their health professionals.

“Research is ongoing to better understand the modifiable factors which influence recurrence of breast cancer,” Professor Zorbas said.

“Given women’s concerns and the impact of exercise on recurrence, evidence-based advice around these lifestyle changes should become an integral part of the follow up care provided to women.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst women in Australia with over 14,500 women expected to be diagnosed in Australia this year.

Staying well after breast cancer will be the theme of Cancer Australia’s Pink Ribbon Breakfast today (Monday, 22 October 2012) at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney.

Click here for more information on staying well after breast cancer. Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) also has a new Breast Cancer and Exercise booklet available to help women diagnosed with breast cancer to exercise regularly and can be ordered free-of-charge from BCNA by calling 1800 500 258 or downloaded from

Cancer Australia is the Australian Government’s national agency providing leadership in cancer control to improve outcomes for those affected by cancer, their families and carers.

Media contact:    Josh McIntosh    0438 209 833

                                Lydia Meakin      0450 242 131

                                Lauren Neave     0425 259 885