October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month
People observe October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and with the current global focus on the pandemic, it is almost as if other health matters have disappeared. However, breast cancer and other cancers are still very much a part of people’s lives.
We encourage all our member to do a regular check on your own breasts, see you general practitioner if you find anything irregular and be aware of any changes to your body and health. We found facts and helpful links on the Mary Stopes website and gladly share this with you:
Facts about breast cancer:
- The older you are, the greater risk you face when it comes to developing breast cancer. However, the disease can and does strike women under 40.
- When detected early, breast cancer has up to 95% chance of successful treatment
- Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among South African women, with one in 31 women diagnosed in her lifetime. This statistic spans all race groups.
- The second-most common cancer among South African women is cervical cancer. It’s also one of the deadliest, but it is easily preventable – here’s how.
- You should examine your breasts every month, and go for regular mammograms from the age of 40. Here’s how to do a breast self-examination.
- One of the greatest risk factors for breast cancer is obesity, especially after menopause. Other risk factors include being a smoker, not being physically active, consuming alcohol, and age, among others.
- Women who have breastfed, especially for longer than a year, may face a lower breast cancer risk than women who haven’t ever breastfed, studies have found.
- A high-fat diet and one that is very dense in animal protein (especially red meat) can increase your risk of breast cancer. Fill your diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and healthy proteins like fish and seafood, white-meat poultry, eggs and legumes.
- Studies suggest that women who suffer from stress are twice as likely to develop breast cancer than those who don’t experience stress.
- If you want to help reduce your risk of breast cancer, do the following, starting right now: stop smoking; limit your alcohol intake; exercise at least moderately (aim for three times a week, for 30 minutes each time); find out what your healthy weight is and stick to it; always wear sunscreen when you’re outdoors, in every season; revamp your diet, cutting out junk food, sugar and high-fat foods, and try to keep stress to a minimum.