It’s now almost 19 years ago that I lost a loved one to cancer. It was heart breaking to see Gladys get eaten up by numerous tumours. Every time we thought things were improving, there was a new and more shocking diagnosis than the one before. This experience had such an impact on my life that supporting the fight against cancer is my number one health cause.
You probably know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. The last few years have shown the significant improvements which education, early detections and a balanced lifestyle can have on breast cancer prevention and treatment. You owe it to yourself to look after yourself!
While it’s still not known what causes breast cancer, there are a few things you can do for yourself:
Follow a healthy and balanced lifestyle. This would include a diet filled with fruit, veg and plenty of fish. Maintain an appropriate weight. The NHS also suggests to reduce your alcohol consumption and stop smoking.
Early deduction is oh so crucial in fighting any kind of cancer. For breast cancer, do a monthly self exam of your girls. If you’ve not done one before, follow these 5 steps.
If it’s your first time to do a self exam, write down what you feel and what you see. The following months you have something to compare against and can check whether anything has changed. It’s important to understand what’s normal for you. This chart gives you some ideas about changes to look out for.
If you detect something unusual, set up an appointment with your doctor. They can check and if needed, arrange for additional tests. It can be exhausting to wait for these results. Please remember not everything is cancer.
Discuss with your doctor whether a mammogram may be appropriate for you. It’s not for every woman and getting one doesn’t automatically mean you have breast cancer. Different hospitals throughout the UAE may offer special rates for them during the month of October (this is not en endorsement though).
Should you have been diagnosed with cancer, charities like Breast Cancer Arabia and Pink Caravan can provide you with additional, easy to understand information about breast cancer. They can also support you and your family, get you in touch with other patients and be another point of contact besides your doctors.
A number of fund raisers will take place in the UAE during October. ADCB will be running an awareness campaign. Will your company have any special campaigns or fundraisers?
Do you want to combine some sports with a fund raiser? Check out the Pink is Punk swim/run competition on Friday, 9 Oct.
Earlier this year, the Big Pink Ball was hosted for the 2nd time in aid of breast cancer charities and we’ll be looking forward to the next event. As always in this region, more events will be announced closer to the time. Check out Time Out if you want to get involved in local activities.
While October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, cancer is a year-round topic. Don’t just limit yourself to good intentions this month.
Have you faced breast cancer or any other cancer either personally or in your family? I’m curious to hear what support tips kept you going. Stay strong.
Until next time, look after yourself,