London, Feb 4 (ANI): One in eight British women is likely to develop breast cancer at some point in their life, according to new figures.
The grim statistics released by the Cancer Research UK showed the number of women diagnosed with the disease in 2008 was 47,700, up from 42,400 cases in 1999 - an increase by 3.5 percent in 10 years.
This has pushed up the lifetime risk of the disease from one in nine women to one in eight, reports the BBC.
The figures revealed that the biggest rise in breast cancer rates has been among women aged 50 to 69 - 6 percent.
In 2008, almost half of breast cancer cases (48 percent) were in women aged between 50 and 69, while a third were in women aged over 70, with 19 percent in women aged 25-49.
The figures also showed that almost two out of every three women diagnosed with breast cancer will now live for 20 years or more, while three-quarters will survive for at least 10 years.
Previous research has shown that lifestyle factors and a family history of breast cancer increase a woman's risk of developing the disease.
The charity said that exercising and eating healthy could minimise the chances of developing the disease.
Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said that small changes in everyday habits could help to reduce cancer risk.
"Cutting back on alcohol by keeping within government recommended limits of no more than 14 units a week (a small drink a day) helps," she said.
"Taking more exercise and eating a diet high in fibre but low in saturated fat can help maintain a healthy weight - which in turn reduces breast cancer risk,' she added.
Hiom also urged women to get tested at the earliest possible stage.
Dr Rachel Greig, senior policy officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said the figures were a wake-up call and should not be ignored.
"More women are developing breast cancer and, although survival is improving thanks to breakthroughs in breast awareness, screening and treatment, we clearly have much further to go," she added. (ANI)