Together we will beat cancer

Breast cancer

Fact or fiction - What really causes breast cancer?

When it comes to what causes breast cancer, the evidence can be confusing. And the constant flow of often conflicting reports in the media does little to help matters. This is why we provided some advice to the Daily Mail for a recent feature on the evidence behind a range of different breast cancer risk factors.

Knowing which risk factors are genuine, and which are merely hearsay, isn’t always easy and requires a robust understanding of the evidence at hand. In this case, we closely supported the journalist to  provide an overview of the evidence behind a dozen of the most well-known breast cancer risk factors – some genuine, and some less so.

Sifting through the evidence, we picked out risk factors that have a strong body of evidence to back them up, such as alcohol, being overweight and having children later in life. We also highlighted those which are lacking in evidence or based on fundamentally flawed studies, such as the link between breast cancer and cleaning products we recently blogged about, and the urban myth that underwired bras can cause the disease.

You can read more about how women can cut their risk of breast cancer in the Daily Mail article. And there’s plenty more information about the causes and prevention of many types of cancer in the healthy living section of our website.

Ailsa Taylor, Cancer Research UK press officer


Karl August 17, 2010

Without sounding flippant it might have been easier to list the things dont dont cause breast cancer. Really surprised by the ‘alleged’ link to cleaning products and antiperspirants!

Liked the advice given on your healthy living page. Like the top ten tips – its practicle for everyone to squeeze a few of them in to a daily rountine without too much culture shock :P



Kat Arney August 12, 2010

Thanks Richard – glad you liked it.

Richard Evans August 12, 2010

I agree – this piece in the Mail is a really good article and sets out the evidence in an accessible way. We at World Cancer Research Fund have posted a response to it on our blog: