October marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month across the world, urging women to look after their health and look out for the early signs of breast cancer. It is a disease that is often shrugged off by women, convinced that they and their friends and family will not be affected by it. However, the reality is that, in the UK alone, a woman is diagnosed every ten minutes and despite the best efforts of medicine and charities, it remains a life-threatening disease. This month of October, around 5000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to dispel the myths, and perceived embarrassment that surrounds breast cancer, by encouraging women to look out for the early signs and to openly discuss the disease and its consequences within their social circles. Any concerns are worth getting checked out- leave no room for doubt.
It is important to understand the tell-tale signs which many women are first confronted with when checking for breast cancer. For a large proportion of women, the cancer will present itself as a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast. Reassuringly, doctors say that breast lumps are 90% non-cancerous, but they urge you to have them checked anyway- always better to be safe. Other signs include unusual changes to the shape or size of your nipples, a rash in that are or discharge from your nipples. All warrant a check-up with your GP. At your appointment, the doctor will perform a manual check-up before referring you for a mammogram. This procedure is painless, and takes only ten minutes.
While certain factors such as family history may make you more predisposed to contracting breast cancer, there are certain preventative measures you can take to help lower your risk, and maintain good physical health. Here are some of Curves’ top tips on how to best look after your health:
- Be as physically active as possible. Exercise helps you to maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, can help to reduce your risk of breast cancer. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, as well as strength-training at least twice a week. So whether that’s walking the kids to school, taking the dog for a long walk or making sure you get to every one of your Curves classes, any and all exercise is welcome!
- Limit your alcohol intake. Research has linked drinking to the development of breast cancer. Make sure that you adhere to the weekly unit recommendations.
- Control your weight. Being overweight or obese significantly increases your risk of contracting breast cancer. Regular exercise and a healthy and balanced diet will help keep you in shape and joining a club like Curves ensures you get the support and advice needed to keep you on your path to fitness!
- Limit the dose and duration of hormone therapy. Studies have shown that combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years can increase the risk of breast cancer. If you’re undergoing hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, it is worth seeking information on alternative therapies and medications from your doctor.
At Curves, we are committed to doing all we can to eradicate this disease in the future. That’s why, during the month of October at participating Curves clubs, we will be offering a 50% discount on our clubs’ service fee. Half of all service fees collected will be donated to a breast cancer charity. Look after your health and fight back against breast cancer!