October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but as women, awareness and self-care need to extend well beyond October and become a part of our daily lives.
The numbers are morbid. Statistics show 1 in 8 women will fall prey to this life-threatening disease sometime or another, and the number of women under 40 being diagnosed is on a spike.
Almost every household has a cancer story to tell. However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Although the exact causes of cancers in any form are still a vague question mark, scientific advances and alternative healing methods have saved many lives the world over. For breast cancer specifically, early detection is key.
10 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer
- Self Check: Know your body. No one knows it quite as intimately as you do, and you are therefore the first bet at detecting something out of the ordinary. The National Breast Cancer Foundation has a detailed infographic on how you can do this in the privacy of your own home. Click here for details.
- Get a Mammogram: Although it sounds icky, a mammogram is a very simple procedure involving a thorough scan of the breasts. As a part of the Breast Cancer Awareness initiative, Zulekha Hospital is offering free mammograms. Visit their website for more details.
- In the Genes: Although not all breast cancer patients have relatives who have suffered the ordeal, your chances of being detected more than doubles if you have a close female relative who has had breast cancer and you therefore need to be extra vigilant.
- Be Active: Studies have shown that women leading more active, healthy lives are less prone to becoming victims of breast cancer. Every little move counts, even housework!
- Healthy Eating: Eat clean as often as you can. Up your fruits and vegetable intake, avoid constipation.
- Avoid High Oestrogen: Oestrogen, a naturally occurring hormone in the body, is known to accelerate cell growth. Here is a link to a useful article on how you can keep your levels in check.
- Enjoy the Sunshine: Vitamin D is an ally against breast cancer. Regular exposure to sunlight helps the body create its own supply of this vitamin.
- Breast-Feed: Studies have shown that women who breast feed their children for one year or more are less likely to get breast cancer.
- Take Fish Oil: Loaded with health-enhancing Omega 3, a regular intake of a high-quality fish oil supplement has been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Reduce Stress: Stay happy, take time out of your busy schedule to chill and reflect on life. Pray Meditate. A happy mind keeps the body healthy.
Breast Cancer Awareness Initiatives in the UAE
Jalila Foundation: Set up by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai, the Jalila Foundation is UAE’s first independent multi-disciplinary medical research centre that brings together leading local and international scientists who are working closely on discovering medical solutions for the region’s biggest health challenges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and mental health. Help the foundation continue their research into saving lives, and make a donation through their website.
Burjuman Safe & Sound: Burjuman Centre, one of Bur Dubai’s oldest shopping destinations, holds an annual event raising awareness for breast cancer. This year they teamed up with experts from Brest Friends and the Jalila Foundation, and created a means for everyday women to gain easy access to more information on breast cancer. Read more about their initiates on the Safe & Sound website.
Curve Beauty Salon: Located in Burjuman Centre and known for their high-end spa and beauty solutions, Curve Beauty Salon held a “Think Pink, Think Curve” event. Women who attended the event enjoyed a day of pampering, and all proceeds went to the Jalila Foundation in honor of breast cancer research.
Zulekha Hospitals: For the entire month of October, Zulekha Hospital is offering free mammograms to all women. Visit their website for details.