Background: Independent, strong and unequivocal evidence suggests that life style factors such as obesity and lack of physical activity along with certain reproductive choices can increase the risk of breast cancer. There are no studies measuring the effectiveness of guidelines from the Department of Health regarding life style choices made by women presenting to breast clinics. The aim of this audit was to study the prevalence of obesity, physical activity and reproductive factors in women referred to breast clinic. Patients and methods: All patients attending the Breast clinic as new referrals were invited to complete a life style questionnaire. The data was analysed for prevalence of various risk factors for breast cancer. Three hundred and 73 patients completed the questionnaire. Results: Final analyses of 373 patients demonstrated that 42% of women performed no exercise and only 24% of patients met Department of Health guideline of 30 minutes of exercise for 5 days a week. Overall 50% of patients were either obese or overweight and 22% of patients had BMI of > 30 kg/m. The median age of menarche was 13 and 18% of women started their period below the age 12. Twenty one percent of women were nulliparous and 14% had their first live birth after the age of 30. Fourteen percent of patients were on the hormone replacement therapy of which 57% have used hormones for more than 5 years. Twenty two percent of women smoked and 9% of women consumed alcohol 5 days a week of which 13% had more than 4 glasses of alcohol in a day. Conclusion: There is preponderance of high risk life style choices in women attending breast clinic. If these life style options are not modified, there could potentially be a significant rise in the number of breast cancer in West Midlands.
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