Breast cancer facts

• There are more than 53,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer in the UK each year – 53,352 women and 344 men in 2013.

• About 80% of breast lumps are detected by women themselves.

• About 8 out of 10 breast lumps are benign (harmless).

• Only between 5 and 10 percent of breast cancers are caused by hereditary factors, although in some vulnerable families, members will have as much as an 80% chance of developing breast cancer.

• Breast cancer causes 11,433 deaths in the UK in 2014, and more than a million world wide, but with better treatments more people are now living longer after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

• The smaller the lump when detected, the better the chance that no cancer cells have migrated to other parts of the body, causing secondary cancers – and the greater the chance of long term remission.

• Breast cancer is not purely a female problem. Around 1 per cent of cases occur in men.

• Research has not yet established conclusive results on the links between diet and cancer but there is plenty of evidence that obesity increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Dietary advice with the aim of prevention is the same as for avoiding heart disease: eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, poultry, lean white meat, fish (especially of the oily varieties), soya products, whole grain bread, semi-skimmed milk, low-fat cheeses and using good olive oil for dressing salads and for cooking, rather than butter or other animal fats. Studies have shown that there is an increase in risk of breast cancer with the amount of alcohol that women regularly drink. Regular exercise is important.