Australia will once again be awash in pink ribbons on Monday, the 28th of October, to help support the fight against breast cancer. It’s fun, and easy to support the cause simply by purchasing one of the many pink ribbon products on the day.
As we all join the fight against cancer it’s hard not to think about how you and your family would cope, and function if the unthinkable were to happen to you. That’s why looking after yourself is so important.
Check for signs
The first thing you should start doing regularly (if you aren’t already), is checking yourself for any signs of breast cancer. These include:
- changes in the shape or colour of your breasts, or any unusual pain
- a new lump on your breast or anywhere else in the body
- unexplained weight loss
Of course, feeling a new lump in your breast is a frightening experience, and many women want to ignore it, putting their head in the sand. However, it should be realised that many breast lumps are not cancerous. In fact most are usually tumours or cysts that are benign (not malignant), and do not invade cells, destroy body tissue or spread to other parts of the body.
Early detection – early treatment
But even considering this happy fact, you should still consult a doctor for a mammogram or screening as soon as possible, because early detection of a cancer while still localised in the breast can increase your chances of 5-year survival to often higher than 95 per cent.
So if you find a new or painful lump, book a consultation with your doctor, but remain optimistic!
What else can I do to reduce my cancer risk?
OK, so you’re committed to regular self–examinations of your breasts for changes, and to seeking medical help at the first sign of any changes … but what else can you do to maintain health and fitness and reduce your cancer risk?
Well, the first one is a bit of a no brainer. If you smoke…stop.
But you can also try and maintain a healthy body weight, with recent research suggesting that if you are overweight then a loss of just 5 per cent or more of your weight could cut by a quarter to a half the risk for the most common, oestrogen-sensitive breast cancers.
And the best news? To do this, you don’t need to join the local triathlon club or gym (although, again, research has shown hitting the pilates mat can be very beneficial to mind, body and soul of breast cancer sufferers and survivors), but just make some mild alterations to you daily routine.
Get off the bus a stop earlier. Take the stairs. Take 15 minutes at lunch to get outside, breathe deeply and walk around. Just by increasing your physical activity, watching your alcohol intake and choosing a varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables should be more than enough to see that 5% figure reached – and help you in the fight against breast cancer.
Plan for the unthinkable
No matter how healthy we are, and how careful we are, the sad fact is that sometimes, life happens. And that can unfortunately mean that our family’s financial security may be at risk. While it can’t replace the TLC you provide to your family, putting a plan in place to protect your family’s financial future can be easy with the right life insurance or serious illness cover policy.