Western habits fuelling Korean cancer rise claim scientists

In collaboration with the Press Association

Korean researchers have suggested that the country's increasingly western lifestyle is linked to its rising rates of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

Although breast cancer rates remain low when compared to the west, they are increasing at above the international average, the researchers found.

Scientists compared 5,001 patients who received breast cancer treatment between 1989 and 2001.

They found that the proportion of patients with breast cancer risk factors, such as early menarche (age at first period), late menopause, a high-fat diet and being overweight or obese after the menopause, was significantly increased among the patients between 1996 and 2000.

"We believe that the younger generations of Korean women have been directly affected by the progressive westernisation of the Korean lifestyle," said lead author Dr Byung Ho Son.

"The present results suggest that the rate of breast cancer in Korea will continue to increase owing to westernised lifestyles, and the clinical characteristics of Korean breast cancer are now reflecting the patterns of western countries," he added.

Globally, around one million women every year develop breast cancer, leading to around 600,000 deaths. Around 41,000 women are diagnosed in the UK every year.

Breast cancer causes a third of all cancer deaths among UK women.