Cancer Awareness Month and preventative measures

Every day more than 1,300 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.

According to The Cancer Society, “When breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localised stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 100%”. The best way to fight breast cancer is to “have a plan that helps you detect the disease in its early stages”, The National Breast Cancer Foundation have said. “Create your Early Detection Plan to receive reminders to do breast self-exams, and schedule your clinical breast exams and mammograms based on your age and health history”.

Why women need an Early Detection Plan is because statistics have shown that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

In a move that got many people in a panic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report this October which revealed that “Bacon, ham, and salami have recently received the shameful label of foods that cause cancer”.

Processed and red meat cause cancer

They’re part of the processed meat group, which has now been “classified as carcinogenic to humans, based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer”.

Cancer Research UK has responded to the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s Monograph for red and processed meat.

Professor Tim Key, Cancer Research UK’s epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, said: “Cancer Research UK supports IARC’s decision that there’s strong enough evidence to classify processed meat as a cause of cancer, and red meat as a probable cause of cancer”.

“We’ve known for some time about the probable link between red and processed meat and bowel cancer, which is backed by substantial evidence”.

However in a reassuring tone, Professor Key later said, “This decision doesn’t mean you need to stop eating any red and processed meat. But if you eat lots of it you may want to think about cutting down. You could try having fish for your dinner rather than sausages, or choosing to have a bean salad for lunch over a BLT”.

The key here is moderation not the very notion of red meat itself. “Eating a bacon bap every once in a while isn’t going to do much harm – having a healthy diet is all about moderation. Overall red and processed meat cause fewer cases of cancer in the UK than some other lifestyle factors. And by far the biggest risk to your health is smoking – causing over a quarter of cancer deaths in the UK and nearly one in five cancer cases”, Professor Key concluded.

TNT Health

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