Pink: the color of hope, love and compassion
Pink is the color of hope, the color of love and compassion. We have a lot of plans in life: plans to enjoy time with our parents, to see our children grow up, and to be a part of their lives. A breast cancer diagnosis comes as an unexpected shock to someone whose life seems so perfect. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the UK where research in breast cancer is supported by various fundraising events.
Approximately 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. We always talk of breast cancer treatment but the focus should also be on awareness and prevention of breast cancer. In the UK, every woman registered with GP will receive the first invitation for breast cancer screening once they reach 50.
Like other cancers, breast cancer also has modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors.
Risk factors for breast Cancer
Non-modifiable risk factors: gender, age, ethnicity and family history of breast cancer cannot be modified to prevent breast cancer.
Modifiable risk factors: lifestyle modification plays a significant role in prevention of breast cancer
A healthy lifestyle can prevent about 30% of breast cancer
- Take plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Reduce intake of processed food, red meat and fat
- Increase the daily intake of fiber-rich food, whole grains etc
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Quit smoking
- Exercise daily
- Sleep well
- Breastfeed your child
Breast cancer can have various warning signs but most commonly it presents with a breast lump. It can also present with redness, pitting or any other skin change. Sometimes, one can find abnormal discharge from the nipple with or without a change in the appearance of the nipple . Also, the presence of underarm swelling ( enlarged axillary lymph node) is not uncommon. Hence, one should be aware of these symptoms and should contact the GP at the earliest.
Breast lumps do not always indicate cancer, but further investigation is necessary to rule out any possibility of breast cancer. Luckily, less than 10% of breast lumps are cancerous, the rest are benign lesions.
Unfortunately, around 39% of women in the UK don’t regularly check their breasts for warning signs of breast cancer.
Therefore, awareness and prevention go hand in hand. Every woman should be aware of these signs and symptoms. Also, one should have a wholesome approach towards life. It’s impossible to change our genetic makeup or rather our past, but we can choose to change ourselves in the present to live a more joyful life in the future.
Harvie M, Howell A, Evans DG. Can diet and lifestyle prevent breast cancer: what is the evidence? Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book. 2015:e66-73.