January 15, 2014
White women are at more risk of getting breast cancer than those who are black or Asian because they are less likely to breastfeed and more likely to drink alcohol, researchers claim.
A study has revealed that white women in England have the highest rates of the disease.
But it warns that younger women from Asian and black communities could catch up as their lifestyles become more westernised.
Researchers from Oxford University and Oxford University NHS Trust examined data on the living habits and medical and social factors of more than one million women aged 50 to 64 in England.
They found that those from southern Asia had an 18 per cent lower rate of breast cancer, and black women had a 15 per cent lower rate, compared to white women.
The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, showed Asian and black women had more children than white women and were more likely to breastfeed, which is known to protect against breast cancer.
Around two thirds of white women breastfed their children compared to 83 per cent of black women and 85 per cent of Asian women.
Alcohol is linked to breast cancer and the study showed three-quarters of Asian women were non-drinkers, compared with 38 per cent of black women and 23 per cent of white women.