Message to Australian women: get fit or get cancer

AUSTRALIAN women have one of the highest rates of cancer in the world, and sports scientists believe it is directly linked to a lack of exercise.

Exercise and Sport Science Australia executive officer Anita Hobson-Powell said the report, by the World Cancer Research Fund International, placed Australia eighth in the world for women's cancer rates.

"When you look at what the top five cancers are for Australian women, breast and colorectal cancers are prominent. Both of these cancers can be linked back to a lack of exercise," she said.

"Since the first report linking physical inactivity and cancer risk in 1922, there have been hundreds of reports that show the direct link between this relationship."

Statistics from Cancer Council Queensland support this view, with up to 30% of cancers being preventable through lifestyle choices such as being active, healthy eating, quitting smoking and undergoing recommended screenings.

With breast cancer the second highest cause of cancer-related deaths in Queensland women, early detection is crucial.

However, Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said only half of all eligible Australian women took part in mammograms through BreastScreen.

The service is available free to women over 40.

To make an appointment at your nearest BreastScreen Australia service phone 132 050.

Fast facts

One in two Australian men and one in three Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.

More than 60% of people diagnosed with cancer in Australia survive more than five years after diagnosis.

- Facts sourced from