It’s October, and that means the color pink will start appearing everywhere – and for good reason. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an international health campaign promoting prevention, diagnosis, treatments and cures.
Here are five ways to make the most of this important month in Bahrain!
This month starts with just being informed. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, with nearly 1.7 million new cases diagnosed in 2012, representing about 25 per cent of all cancers in women.
While men can get breast cancer too, it is much more common in women, with women over 50 being most at risk. That said, about 11% of all new cases of breast cancer are found in women younger than 45.
Check your health
This month is also a good reminder for women to check in with themselves, as there many uncontrollable genetic factors that can put them at risk.
October is also a good time to get in the habit of having regular breast exams. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat. In addition, one of the first lines of defense against breast cancer is being vigilant with self-exams.
Improve your lifestyle
To help prevent breast cancer:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer, especially after menopause.
- Stay physically active. Exercising at a moderate or intense level for four to seven hours per week can lower the risk of breast cancer.
- Do not smoke. Smoking is linked to a number of diseases, including breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women.
- Watch your diet. Eating too much saturated fat and not enough fruits and vegetables increases risk.
- Cut back on alcohol. Women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer, compared to women who don’t drink at all.
Hands-on volunteer work is incredibly impactful and often very rewarding. Think Pink has opportunities for interested volunteers who want to help for a great cause.
Spread the word
Lastly, an important thing to do during Breast Cancer Awareness Month is simply raise awareness. Most people can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. Talk to others about risk factors and lifestyle changes. Encourage your loved ones to get regular exams. Reach out to a loved one who is experiencing breast cancer and lend your support. And, join local events and races that raise money and create even more awareness.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers found in women. During October and every month, take steps to stay healthy. Everything you do counts.