19 February 2018
With one in two people now being diagnosed with cancer, it is sadly now a large part of many people’s lives. Although a heart breaking 50,000 new cases are diagnosed in UK women every year, evidence suggests that nearly half of these cases could be prevented following three simple tips; eat healthily, be a healthy weight and regularly exercise.
While risk factors vary from person to person, many unfortunately out of our control; such as genetics and family history to your age and height. However, on a more positive note, there are many lifestyle factors you can control which are proven to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Many of these factors are those bug bears we all know we should change in our lives anyway but continue to make excuses to avoiding doing so. These include things such as drinking less alcohol (don’t worry, you don’t have to cut it out completely!), being a healthy weight and completing regular exercise.
Although life gets in the way too often, your health is so important and even tiny changes can make a lifelong difference. Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day, whether this is going for a run, walking home from work or even doing some deskercise! Little things such as walking to the further water fountain to fill up your bottle, taking the stairs rather than the lift or even just doing some calf-raises whilst waiting for the printing. We could say squats but you may get a few funny looks! Additionally little changes to your diet can make such a difference, limit the amount of red meat in your diet, avoid processed meats and include more veg, fruit and beans.
A very important factor is that you know what to look out for, catching the cancer quickly can be as effective as preventing it. Regularly check your breasts in the mirror will make it so much easier to spot any changes or abnormalities. Vital changes to look out for include: change in size or shape, skin texture or a new lump. Additionally, any discharge from one or both nipples, either nipple becoming inverted (pulled in) or changing shape/position are key signs to look out for.
If you’re not sure, get it checked! No doctor, nurse or any other human would blame you for wanting to get a professional opinion; it may save your life! If you notice a change in your breasts you should visit your GP who will be able to refer you to one of our specialist breast consultants.
Here at Spire Harpenden Hospital we offer a wide range of services which can assist you through every step of your journey. We also have our One Stop Breast Clinic which offers a rapid access breast clinic for women with concerns or family history of breast problems. For your convenience, we have clinics Monday to Saturday and you can be seen within 24 hours of enquiring.
It’s important to us that you get the information needed quickly and without any undue wait. Our modern equipment and experienced professionals allow us to offer excellent services such as digital mammography, fine needle aspiration, MRI’s and many more. Additionally, if you are aware of family history and would like to start screening early we offer this service to patients over 35. If you are over 73 and not receiving screening investigations from the NHS you can self-refer and any reports will be sent to your GP.
We aim to settle any uncertainty, allowing you to get back to enjoy your life as soon as medically possible.