Don't fall into a booby trap!
Although October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, where we focus on raising awareness of the disease, it is important to remember that breast cancer is a year-round concern. It is also incredibly common. Each year in Ireland, almost 3,400 women and approximately 30 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Checking your breasts is one of the most important things that you can do for your health, but this doesn’t always mean it gets done - as illustrated in a recent study by Breast Cancer Now which found that two in five (41%) UK women do not check their breasts regularly. Being one of the most common types of cancer in Ireland, it is crucial to slot in time each month to self-examine your breasts. Getting to know what is normal for you (and what isn’t) can make all the difference when it comes to early detection – which we know is key when it comes to survival rates.
If you are worried about how to self-examine correctly, a handy nerdie tip is to head over to Breast Cancer Ireland where there are instructional videos on the best way to check yourself. Always book an appointment with your GP if you spot anything unusual or concerning. Being aware also includes knowing the facts on breast cancer and so with this in mind, we are clearing up some myths and bringing you the facts to allow you to make an informed decision when checking your boobs.
MYTH: Breast cancer is always hereditary
Breast cancer risk can be affected by family history but only 5%-10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary.*
FACT: Risk of Breast Cancer increases with age
Breast Cancer Ireland have reported that 23% of women are diagnosed between the ages of 20-50 years, 34% of women are diagnosed between the ages of 50-69 years and 36% of women are diagnosed over the age of 70 years.
MYTH: There is nothing you can do to reduce your risk
Lifestyle factors such as obesity and smoking can affect your risk of breast cancer. To lower your risk you should avoid smoking, eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise regularly and limit your consumption of alcohol.
FACT: You may need to scan each Inci list for EDCs within your personal care products
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) mimic oestrogen and have been linked to increased breast cancer risk. As more evidence emerges regarding the full health implications of these synthetic chemicals, some organisations such as Breast Cancer UK urge us to adopt a precautionary approach to their use. EDCs can be found in several personal care and cosmetics products including hairspray, antiperspirant, sunscreens and nail polish. To reduce this risk, you can avoid products containing Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing preservatives, parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl or ethyl paraben) and UV filters (ethylhexyl salicylate, benzophenone). This list is not exhaustive and so for more information please go to breastcancerprevention.org.uk.
Remember: If you want to avoid exposure to EDCs it is important to check the ingredients of products labelled ‘natural’ or ‘green.’
MYTH: Light exposure at night causes breast cancer
Research from Breast Cancer Now has dispelled the myth that light exposure at night causes breast cancer, so we now know that women in well-lit rooms are no more likely to develop breast cancer than those in the darkest bedroom.
FACT: The survival rate is increasing
Thanks to increased awareness and breast screening, the survival rate in Ireland is increasing, whilst mortality rates are reducing by 2% annually.
For more information, please visit breastcancerireland.com