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University study finds lifestyle advice can prevent breast cancer

A study conducted by Aberdeen and Dundee Universities has found that breast cancer clinics advising about lifestyle changes in appointments can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

By: Mena Collin

"Pink Ribbons"by srqpix is licensed under CC BY 2.0

New research has shown that advising women of lifestyle changes in breast cancer screening appointments, namely dietary changes and increased exercise, can result in significant weight loss over 12 months. In turn, this makes women less likely to develop breast cancer.

Professor Annie Anderson, part of Dundee’s School of Medicine, said: “Our study has shown that structured guidance on physical activity and diet using important techniques from health psychology could have a major effect on breast cancer risk.”

Professor Stuart Treweek of the University of Aberdeen said that young women can, too, reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by regularly exercising and following a healthy diet.

However, there have been concerns about the impact of the pandemic on screenings for breast cancer. An article written by Norman E Sharpless for Science explained that “cancers being missed now [due to the pandemic] will still come to light eventually, but at a later stage and with worse prognoses.”

Following the success of the ActWELL initiative, Professor Treweek expressed his desire for the Scottish Government to help roll out the initiative to clinics that have not been involved, with the potential to develop approaches specifically targeted to different groups of women, including those from socioeconomically disadvantaged and ethnic minority backgrounds, to help more women prevent breast cancer.


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