24/01/2011 17:33 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Healthier Lifestyles Could Improve British Breast Cancer Figures

Figures just released by the World Cancer Research Fund suggest the UK is ranked 22nd out of 50 countries for rates of cancer and 11th for rates of breast cancer (where the highest rank means the highest number of cases of cancer). And the reason why more women in this country develop breast cancer than some other countries? Because we have high levels of obesity as well as a growing taste for alcohol, say the experts.

women-skating-dancing-exercise Getting plenty of exercise could reduce your cancer risk. Photo: Corbis

The tables, which were compiled using information from the World Health Organisation, show high-income countries are more likely to have higher rates of cancer than low-income countries. And high-income countries tend to have higher rates of obesity and alcohol consumption, along with lower levels of exercise.

According to Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser for the WCRF, around a third of the most common cancers in this country could be prevented if people kept their weight within healthy limits, ate a better, more nutritious diet and took more exercise.

Other cancer experts agree, claiming that up to half of all cancers could be prevented if people lived more healthily - which, as well as eating healthily and exercising more, includes giving up smoking, drinking less alcohol and avoiding sunburn.

If you think our rating is poor, spare a thought for Denmark which came top of the cancer rankings overall (that's cancer in general, cancer in men, women and breast cancer). Why Denmark, you might think? According to experts, it could be explained by the high rates of smoking among Danish women, as well as the country's high level of alcohol consumption.

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