Amidst the media feeding frenzy over phone hacking lots of significant news continues to pass largely under the radar.
This week, for example, we have had two news stories drawing attention to the link between obesity and certain forms of cancer which have had very little media coverage.
The first, ‘Cancer rate rising in middle-aged’, relates to a report from Cancer Research UK showing that whilst cancer survival rates have doubled since the 1970s, nevertheless the risk of developing cancer in middle-age has risen by over 20% in a generation.
Data show that in Britain in 1979, 44,000 people aged 40-59 developed the disease, compared with 61,000 in 2008.
CRUK said the rise for men and women was partly due to better screening, but also lifestyle factors like obesity. In women, use of the contraceptive Pill, drinking more alcohol, having children later and being overweight have increased breast cancer risk.
The second, ‘Obesity leading driver of breast cancer’, relates to research, also from CRUK, showing that obesity is the biggest lifestyle factor behind the most common form of breast cancer in older women. Alcohol and then cigarettes are the next largest culprits.
One in eight women in the UK develop breast cancer in their lifetime, data shows, and the majority of these tumours are ‘hormone sensitive’ meaning their growth is fuelled by hormones. Too much stored fat in the body raises the level of these ‘sex’ hormones.
According to the BC, experts say women should be made aware of these modifiable risk factors. Dr Julie Sharp, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘This is an important study as it helps to show how alcohol and weight can influence hormone levels. Maintaining a healthy body weight and reducing alcohol consumption are key to reducing breast cancer risk.’
So there you are. If you didn’t know this before then you do now.
But do most people at risk actually know this? And if not why aren’t they being told?
And why is it an issue that is seldom, if ever, addressed by the church?
Well there’s a question!