Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A paper in a previous volume of this journal (Ingram, DM, Nutr Cancer 3, 75-80, 1981) reported that at the beginning of World War II there was a marked decrease in breast cancer mortality in England and Wales that coincided with a marked reduction in the consumption of sugar, meat, and fat, and a marked increase in the consumption of cereals and vegetables. Reexamination of the mortality data described in that paper shows that the apparent sudden decrease in breast cancer mortality at the beginning of World War II is an artefact caused by a change in the method of selecting the cause of death from jointly stated causes, which was introduced in 1940. After adjusting for this change, trends in age-specific mortality rates are described. Breast cancer mortality rates were greater in 1980 than in 1911 in the age group of 35-84 years, but this overall increase was interrupted by a period of decreasing mortality between the 1930s and the 1950s in the age group of 50-69 years. It is possible that some of this decrease was due to dietary changes; however, the evidence is poor and other factors that affect incidence and survival must be considered.

Original publication




Journal article


Nutr Cancer

Publication Date





1 - 9


Adult, Aged, Breast Neoplasms, Diet, England, Epidemiologic Methods, Female, History, 20th Century, Humans, Middle Aged, Wales