Recent reports that cancer rates in UK women are set to rise six times faster than in men over the next two decades will have alarmed many. It is likely to be a similar story across the western world.
In the US, cancer rates have been steadily decreasing in men but not in women. And although it is still the case that more men than women get cancer, the gap is narrowing.
The new prediction of future trends for cancer in women by Cancer Research UK is based on our knowledge of how lifestyle choices and other factors can affect your chance of getting cancer.
The World Health Organisation has estimated that two fifths of the 14m cases of cancer that are diagnosed every year are preventable. The main preventable causes of cancer are diet, smoking and infection.
Of these, diet is likely to most disproportionately affect women over the coming years.
It has been estimated that over half a million cancers worldwide can be directly linked to obesity and inactivity every year. Although being overweight can increase the risk of some cancers that affect both sexes, such as kidney cancer and bowel cancer, some cancers that only affect women are also strongly linked to obesity. [Read more…]