Prosperity responsible for Breast cancer rise

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London, Jan 24 (UNI) Of all the exports from the western world, developing countries, including India and China, have also received breast cancer epidemic with urban cancer registries recording a steep rise between 20 and 30 per cent in the past decade.

Increasing prosperity and ''westernisation'' of traditional lifestyles are being dubbed as the main culprits for the spread of this disease round the world.

A richer diet, smaller families, delayed childbearing and reduced breast-feeding together with rising obesity and increased alcohol consumption have driven the increase noticed everywhere, experts said.

The rise of cancer in Europe and America have jumped up to 80 per cent in the UK since the 1970s, while in Japan, Singapore and Korea --countries once renowned for their low rates-- cases have doubled or tripled in the past 40 years.

Around 1.3 million new cases were diagnosed around the world last year. In 2006, it outranked lung cancer, which affects both sexes, for the first time.

Many specialists talk about developing a preventive drug, a hormonal cocktail, that would act like a vaccine and provide lifelong protection.

Others demand political action, raising public awareness and galvanising governments to provide screening and early treatment that gives women the best chance of surviving. A third school of thought emphasises the need for a public health strategy to highlight the risks of alcohol, obesity and lack of exercise.

Blaming Westernisation alone would, however, lead to missing the central cause-- changes in clild-bearing, Valerie Beral of the Cancer Research UK epidemiology unit at Oxford University said.

''Most women in the past had six or seven children. Each child was breast fed for two to two-and-a-half years, which meant they stopped ovulating and didn't conceive. The hormonal changes that occur around child-bearing and during breast-feeding are protective for life,'' the Independent quoted him as saying.

Experts maintained alcohol was the most worrying driver for younger women. For each single unit of alcohol per day, the risk rose by 7 per cent, Peter Boyle of the International Agency for Cancer Research in Lyon said, adding, '' It's the ladettes who hit the bars on a Friday night that I worry about.'' UNI XC SYU RS1222

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