October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is special in itself having an entire month dedicated to raising awareness to this ‘silent disease’. The reason breast cancer is called a ‘silent disease’ is because it can go undetected for so long if we do not actively take it in our own hands (quite literally) to become educated on what we can do as an individual and as a nation on the prevention, early detection signs/procedures, treatment, aftercare, and how to support those women and men that are affected each day by this disease.
The studies and findings on breast cancer can be rather daunting and make you want to just hide underneath your covers with a tub of Coconut Ice Cream cursing the fact that you are a woman, as unfortunately breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
Now let’s just get it out there with the facts and figures, as I find for myself that I rather know as much information as possible to really understand the severity of an issue so I can identify what is in my capacity to influence for the benefit of my own health and wellbeing. As Jim Rohn once quoted, ‘Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.’
- 1 in 8 women will be will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime
- 7 women die from breast cancer every day in Australia
- 1% of breast cancer cases occur in men
- In 2020, 17,210 women are projected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia. This is an average of 47 women every day
- Increasing age is one of the strongest risk factors for developing breast cancer. More than two in three cases of breast cancer occur in women aged between 40 and 69 years
- The five year survival rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer is 89%
- Improvements in survival are attributed to earlier detection of breast cancer through regular mammograms, regular self-examinations and improved treatment outcomes for breast cancer
So either these statistics can make you run and hide, or if you are anything like me your thoughts would be ‘I’m going to do everything in my power to do my research so that I can try to live a happy and healthy cancer free life and also educate everyone I know on this issue.’
Research has shown that that through leading a healthy lifestyle that includes physical exercise, healthy diet, no smoking, adequate sunlight (not exactly that hard living in Australia), not excessively consuming alcohol, adequate iron levels, and also maintaining healthy mental well being could assist in preventing cancer and many other diseases. Mental health is very important in itself as your mind and emotions directly affect your body…positive thinking is the key. However, the development of cancer is not only brought on by going against the above preventative measures, with genetics, age, and family history playing a significant part in contracting cancer (Dr. Mercola 2011, Breast Cancer Breakthrough – Cut Your Risk in Half).
Today, there are many organisations that conduct research on breast cancer to find the cause and treatment for this disease. At the heart of their business is raising awareness to the symptoms, treatments and celebration of those that have beat breast cancer and the support network that has helped them through the treatment and also aftercare.
To make this possible numerous organisations such as National Breast Cancer Foundation host their own fundraising activities and campaigns to drive this global movement in the effort of raising funds for continued research and development of treatments. However, it is not possible for these organizations to raise all the money themselves and therefore reach out to individuals, social groups and organisations to host their own event, whether it be a Pink Ribbon breakfast, a team challenge, girls night in, or clothes swap, to spread the word about breast cancer, raise money and just have a good time while you’re at it.
Today, 26th October 2015, is Pink Ribbon Day and you will see many people on the streets, outside the train stations and even in your own organisation proudly wearing a pink ribbon on their chest or selling these. The pink ribbon has become the international symbol for breast cancer awareness back in 1992, showing the moral support given to all those that have encountered this disease.
It is interesting to discover that the Pink Ribbon was derived from the red ribbon for AIDS Awareness, and that the colour pink was chosen due to its association in most western countries with femininity, traditional gender roles, caring for people, being good, being cooperative, and being beautiful. Many organisations have adopted this symbol when associated to Breast Cancer Awareness as the pink ribbon also signifies the fear towards breast cancer, hope for the future, and the charitable goodness of people and businesses who publicly support the movement to fight breast cancer.
Working for a Health College myself, being highly passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle which involves empowering people to take control of their own health and wellbeing…and also being a woman, I have initiated a Pink Drink and Nutrition Based Information Session at the college I work for. This will be open to all of our students and staff to become involved in with all proceeds from donations and merchandise sold being donated to National Breast Cancer Foundation.
So get in the spirit, follow my recipe for a Pink Smoothie Bowl (even make it fancy with a pink umbrella if you wish) and donate to this great cause as you never know who in your life now or in the future that Breast Cancer will affect.
This recipe makes 1L
Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free
Preparation & Total Time
- 700ml of coconut water
- ⅔ cup of frozen mixed berries
- 15 fresh strawberries
- 2 frozen medium sized bananas
- 1 small mango
- ⅓ cup of goji berries
- ⅓ tsp turmeric
- 1 x chopping board
- 1 x knife
- 1 x measuring cup
- 1 x measuring spoon
- Cut the strawberries and mango into chunks
- Place all ingredients into the blender and blitz away. Bon Apetit!
- If you feel like deviating away from the ‘pink’ theme add in some blueberries. Blueberries are high in antioxidants and have cancer fighting properties.
- Add in spirulina, but go easy on this as it has a very powerful punch to it. Spirulina contains a phytonutrient that blocks a signal pathway that makes cancer cells more aggressive and that protects them from programmed cell death
National Breast Cancer Foundation 2015, Sydney, NSW, viewed 23 October 2015,http://www.nbcf.org.au/
Breast Cancer Care WA 2013, Breast Cancer Care WA, Cottesloe, Western Australia, viewed 18 October 2015, http://www.breastcancer.org.au/contact-us/default.aspx
Dr Miller, B 2005, Cancer: We Can Win The War Against Cancer By Aggresively pursuing Prevention, Google Books, Available from: https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=O8KvBgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=foods+that+fight+cancer&ots=2Y45AF4FmZ&sig=Wg-XDRaCW3FDQoDtjugyOn2QsUQ#v=onepage&q&f=false