Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women worldwide. 1 in 8 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis. However, around 1 in 1000 men will also receive a breast cancer diagnosis.
Not all breast cancers will be preventable, but there are a number of things that can be done to help reduce risk.
- Say no to smoking
Some research suggests that smoking increases the risk of breast cancer; the risk appears to be greater if you begin smoking at a younger age (before having children). The risk also appears to be greater for heavy long-term smokers.
Benefits to stopping smoking begin within minutes of putting down a cigarette.
For advice on stopping smoking, contact your GP or pharmacist, or make use of free online support [Try searching Smoke Free]
- Avoid alcohol
Studies show the risk of breast cancer rises alongside alcohol intake. The risk is considered small if drinking sensibly and within the recommended 1– 2 units / day. But drinking three times per week, for example, can create 15% higher risk of breast cancer.
Drinking one bottle of wine per day increases the risk by 50% (in comparison to someone who does not drink at all).
Limiting alcohol intake is a good way to boost the mind, mood and general health.
[For additional support, check the app ‘Drink Free Days’ or search Drink Less]
- Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Studies suggest that gaining an extra stone may increase the risk by around 20%.
The great news is that losing weight, when overweight, helps to reduce this added risk. There are also numerous other benefits to maintaining a healthy weight.
[Read more on the benefits of a Healthy Weight]
- Stay physically active
Physical activity has a protective effect against breast cancer. Not only by helping to control body weight, but by also having a positive effect on the body’s hormone levels.
Building regular physical activity into the weekly routine is a great way to improve general health and to lower breast cancer risk.
[There are many free apps to encourage activity, including’Couch to 5K’ and ‘Active 10’, but you can also read more on Getting Active]