Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and we couldn’t let it go by without doing our part in what has become a global health campaign. 

Starting in 1985, October has become the month where there is an almighty push to bring widespread attention to breast cancer, this includes the talking about the risks, the benefits of early detection, support for those impacted, and the need for more medical research. It has become one of the biggest fund-raising events in the annual calendar, with the date of Friday October 23 dedicated to  ‘wear it pink’.  
With the world still dealing with the effects of COVID, and face to face care and support taking a hit for many for us,  there has never been a better time to grab that pink top, wear that pink tie, and spread the awareness of breast cancer. 

Some facts:

• Right now, an estimated 600,000 people are living with or after a breast cancer diagnosis in the UK. And every year we lose over 11,500 lives to the disease. That’s someone every 45 minutes. 

• All people, whether male or female, are born with some breast cells and tissue. A man’s breast cells and tissue can still develop cancer. Even so, male breast cancer is very rare. Where 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed at some stage in their lives with breast cancer, the rate is dramatically less for men, with it being only 1 in 1000.

• It’s understandable that some people would just prefer to not know if something is wrong, then know the truth, however, only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer, and a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, should never be ignored. If you know what the problem is, you can either get it treated or have peace of mind.

Below are some really useful links, they cover everything from all the information you could want, free phone numbers to talk directly to a breast cancer nurse, forums to chat with others, and a place to donate should you want, or be able to. 

In the meantime there are some easy things we can all be doing to help protect ourselves and our loved ones. It’s the usual suspects I’m afraid, the ones we all know they make sense, but now is as good a time to really take the bull by the horns and put your health first:

Exercise boosts the immune system and helps you to keep your weight in check. With as little as three hours of exercise per week, or about 30 minutes a day, a woman can begin to lower her risk of breast cancer. This doesn’t require going to a gym either. Power walking is more than sufficient!

A nutritious, low-fat diet (30 grams or less) with plenty of fruits and green and orange vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. A high-fat diet increases the risk because fat triggers estrogen production that can fuel tumour growth.

Smoking is a confirmed risk factor for many types of cancer. Recent research has confirmed that smoking is a contributing risk factor for developing breast cancer. Additionally, second-hand smoke is also a risk factor for cancer. So if you are a smoker, help yourself in a significant way and join a smoking cessation program to help you stop. The day you stop smoking the healing can begin and each week in which you are smoke-free, you give yourself increasing advantages for a healthier life. Smoking also directly contributes to heart and other lung diseases, too.

The most important message for anyone is to not ignore breast pain, breast lumps or any breast changes. This month is to promote awareness, and encourage you to see your doctor should you notice changes or feel anything new (firmness or lump) in your breasts.