October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month-long, pink-coloured campaign which helps raise awareness of a disease which continues to have a lasting impact on patients, survivors and their families.
Breast cancer is not only serious but extremely common, affecting roughly 20,000 Australians a year. 1 in 7 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
The good news is that sufferers can survive breast cancer if detected early enough. Thankfully, you can manage your risk by getting to know your breasts – around 40% of breast cancer survivors first detected breast changes themselves!
Here are the stats:
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Australia (apart from non-melanoma skin cancer) and the second most common cancer to cause death in women, after lung cancer
- Your risk is DOUBLED if your mum or sister have had breast cancer
- The earlier it’s detected, the better your chances of beating it.
I’ve bought a pink ribbon. Now what?
While raising awareness is important, the best thing you can do for yourself is keep active and know your body.
Limit alcohol. The more you drink, the greater the risk. No more than one drink a day is generally recommend, but if you’re looking to raise funds or hold a charity event, sponsor yourself for dry October. (It’s like Dry July but not as catchy).
Maintain a healthy weight. A healthy weight can protect against most cancers, and it has the added benefit of protecting against other diseases.
Get active. 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise can help maintain healthy weight as well cardio and strength.
Stay informed – and self-check. Australians over 50 are recommended to take early-detection tests, but if you notice any changes, such as a lump or skin changes, consult your doctor. If you have a family history of breast cancer, staying vigilant is the best response.