Each day, around 50 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer or a gynecological cancer. Pink Ribbon Day, held this year on Monday 27 October, is devoted to supporting the thousands of women and their families affected by these cancers – and is the perfect chance to spread awareness of the things we can all do to help reduce our risk.
How to reduce women’s cancer risk
The Cancer Council suggests the following steps to lower your chances of developing women’s cancers:
1. Get checked. Regularly check your breasts for any unusual signs and keep up to date with your pap smears (every two years from the age of 18, or within 1-2 years of becoming sexually active.) Finding cancer early greatly improves your chances of successful treatment and recovery. Pap smears can also detect early changes in the cells of the cervix, so abnormalities can be treated before cancer develops. If you are aged 50-74, you will receive an invitation from BreastScreen Australia to have a mammogram every two years, which looks for early breast cancers in women without symptoms.
2. Don’t smoke. Quitting smoking is a key way to reduce your risk of many cancers, including cervical cancer and cancer of the vulva – and it comes with a host of other health benefits. For help quitting visit quitnow.gov.au
3. Be active. 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day improves your health in a number of ways, and 60 minutes can help reduce your risk of developing some cancers.
4. Reduce alcohol. Alcohol consumption is a significant risk factor for many cancers, including breast cancer.
5. Eat well. A balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains keeps your body healthy and helps reduce your cancer risk. Try to limit or avoid processed meat, as well as salty, fatty and sugary food and drinks.
6. Maintain a healthy weight . Staying within a healthy weight range can help lower your risk of many cancers. Eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and see your doctor for advice if you are struggling to get to a healthy weight.
How to support Pink Ribbon Day
There are plenty of ways you can get involved to support those affected by women’s cancers. You can:
• Host a Girls’ Night In or Pink Ribbon fundraiser.
• Buy or sell merchandise to show your support for Cancer Council and raise awareness of women’s cancers.
• Donate to the Cancer Council to help fund research and support programs.
Find out more at pinkribbon.com.au
This Pink Ribbon Day, show your support for Cancer Council – and make sure you and the women in your life know these key steps to improving your health.