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UK breast cancer rates four times higher than in eastern Africa

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Africa, breast cancer, health news

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(NaturalNews) A new World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) report explains that British breast cancer rates are four times higher than they are in eastern African countries like Kenya and Tanzania. Researchers say the enormous disparity is due primarily to lifestyle and diet differences between the two regions.

"The fact that breast cancer rates in eastern Africa are so much lower than in the U.K. is a stark reminder that every year in this country, thousands of women are diagnosed with a case of cancer that could have been prevented," explained Dr. Rachel Thompson, deputy head of science at the WCRF, in response to the report.

Besides diet and lifestyle differences, some scientists say that better detection methods in the U.K. are simply finding more actual cases of breast cancer, and that if eastern African countries used these same methods, breast cancer rates would be higher there than they appear.

But not everyone is convinced of this explanation. Experts say that women in eastern African countries tend to drink less alcohol than British women do, and they also breastfeed their babies more, two differences they say make a huge difference in helping to prevent breast cancer.

And eastern Africa is not the only place where breast cancer rates are lower, either.

"The rate here [in the U.K.] is double that of South America...and more than three times that of eastern Asia," explained Thompson.

Missing from the report is any mention of vitamin D deficiency, which many recent studies are attributing to increased cancer rates in general.

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