Breast Cancer Awareness

Five months ago, Angelina Jolie’s breasts caused a stir, changing the way many young women think about their own. The A-list Hollywood star raised global awareness of breast cancer when she revealed that she had an 87 per cent chance of getting the cancer. As a result, Jolie had a preventative double mastectomy. She spoke out about it, saying she felt “empowered” and didn’t feel like “any less of a woman” after the surgery.

This month marks Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer awareness has quickly evolved into a global health campaign, with charities and companies all over the world encouraging us to think pink and advising women to be breast aware.

Each year, almost 3,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland. It is the most common cancer in the country, followed by skin cancer and although better treatments are resulting in more people living longer happier lives, the number of cases is still on the rise.

Charities such as the Marie Keating Foundation organise many fundraising events to help raise awareness and educate women. This charity’s message for the month of October is, “Look after your girls – talk to your friends about breast cancer”. Their main focus is to encourage women to understand the importance of breast cancer prevention and detection in Ireland.

The main aim of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is informing women that good lifestyle choices can help to prevent cancer, or to catch it in its earliest stages.

Eat healthy: Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can help reduce the risk of cancer, as well as cutting back on the pints/cocktails etc.

Exercise is a really important factor in preventing cancer: even the odd 30-minute walk a day is a great way to stay active.

Quit smoking: According to the Irish Cancer Society, one in every three smokers gets cancer, so the sooner you quit, the less at risk you are.

Avoid sun beds: As much as us Irish people can’t bear to be in our natural, pale, freckly state, stay away from sun beds. The UV rays from the sun and sunbeds are major causes of cancer. So if needs be, either smother your body in sun factor or slap on the fake tan.

It is examples such as Jolie’s, as well as some of the horrifying statistics that we are presented with everyday that have really kick-started women of all ages in taking some initiative, seeking help and medical advice if needed.

So do like many people all around the world, get your pink on and support the cause. For more information on how to donate and support the cause visit www.cancer.ie.

Niamh Doherty

Image: Babka_Babka via Flickr.com

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