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Reduce Breast Cancer Risk: By the Numbers

Reduce Breast Cancer Risk: By the Numbers

The incidence of breast cancer in the United States began climbing in the early 1970s, and is now the highest ever seen in human history. Nearly 50,000 American women die of the disease every year. In the face of this tragedy, a great deal of attention has been given to genetics, but the presence of the breast cancer gene, called BRCA-1, only accounts for at most 5 percent of breast cancers.

Exercise is very important to breast cancer risk. In fact, women who exercise (walk) for four hours per week lower their risk by 33 percent. And women who exercise more than that lower their risk even further.

But diet, it turns out, is even more important.

What we Know

  • Death rate from breast cancer in the United States: 22.4 (per 100,000)
  • Death rate from breast cancer in Japan: 6.3 (per 100,000)
  • Death rate from breast cancer in China: 4.6 (per 100,000)
  • Primary reasons for difference: People in China and Japan eat more fruits and vegetables and less animal products, weigh less, drink less alcohol, and get more exercise than people in the United States.
  • Breast cancer rate for women in Italy who eat a lot of animal products compared to women in Italy who don’t: 3 times greater
  • Breast cancer rate for women in Uruguay who eat a lot of animal products compared to women in Uruguay who don’t: 4.2 times greater
  • Breast cancer rate for affluent Japanese women who eat a lot of animal products compared to poorer Japanese women who rarely or never eat meat: 4.2 times greater
  • Impact on breast cancer risk for adult women who are 45 pounds overweight: Double
  • American women who are aware that there are any dietary steps they can take to lower their chances of developing breast cancer: 23 percent
  • American women with less than high school educations who are aware that there are any dietary steps they can take to lower their risk of developing breast cancer: 3 percent
  • American women who believe that mammograms prevent breast cancer: 37 percent

Excerpted from The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Save the World (Conari Press, 2001) by John Robbins

Read more: Cancer, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Fitness, Health, , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

55 comments

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10:44AM PST on Mar 6, 2013

thank you but I think you should mention that MEN can also get & die from breast cancer !

5:35AM PST on Mar 4, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:15AM PST on Mar 3, 2013

Thanks Melissa.

12:09AM PST on Jan 26, 2013

thanks

3:36AM PDT on Oct 25, 2012

The USA prides itself on eating fatty beef. Fish is not a main protein as much as the beef pork and fowl . Let alone some children never have seen fruits and veggies raw, how sad.

2:34PM PDT on Oct 20, 2012

Thanks

11:24AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

too many pesticides, too many hormones, too many GMO's, too many antibiotics in our foods.
We need to eat 'real' foods...
and of course get allo screenings, exercise etc.

8:33AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

thanks

6:24AM PDT on Oct 8, 2012

Thanks for the info.

2:47PM PDT on Oct 7, 2012

Thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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