Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to highlight this we thought we would share some advice on how you can help reduce your risk of developing this disease.
In the UK the incidence of cancer has risen and is predicted to continue to rise1. Fortunately, the rate of survival is also increasing1. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, and it is estimated that 1 in 7 women will receive a diagnosis during their lifetime2. It is important to be aware that whilst breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, men can also develop the disease – although it is much less common2.
Cancer Research UK suggests that almost a quarter of breast cancer cases are preventable2, so modifying some of our lifestyle factors could have a positive impact on reducing our risk of getting breast cancer.
Alcohol & Smoking
Drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco are both associated with an increased risk of breast cancer3. As well as October being the month to raise awareness of breast cancer it is also the national month to encourage people to stop smoking – Stoptober, and stop drinking alcohol – Go Sober For October. So now is a good a time as any to ditch these habits.
Weight & Physical Activity
Being overweight or obese is also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women3. In fact, 8% of breast cancer cases are said to be caused by greater body fatness3. As well as sticking to the recommended healthy dietary guidelines, another way to achieve a healthy weight is to exercise. Research shows that those who exercise have a lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who do not exercise3. So don’t let the dark evenings and cold temperatures be an excuse to stay in. Remember, exercise can be fun and it sometimes just takes a few attempts to find what activity you really enjoy.
Touch Look Check
Diagnosing breast cancer early can have a significant impact on survival rates4. In the UK, women aged between 50 and 71 years are invited for a breast cancer screening every three years5. However it is important that we all, including men, look out for symptoms of breast cancer and contact our doctor if we notice anything unusual – check out the ‘Touch Look Check’ guide by Breast Cancer Now.
If someone you know is battling with breast cancer, there are lots of charities and organisations, such as Macmillan Cancer Support and Breast Cancer Ireland that can give you advice on how you can best support and be there for them throughout their journey.