After weeks of merriment and overindulgence, our thoughts turn once again to making well-meaning, but often abandoned, New Year’s resolutions. While it may be a struggle to get firmly back on that treadmill, there’s one very important reason why we should improve our diet and lifestyle this New Year.
The Genesis Appeal – the only UK charity dedicated entirely to the prevention of breast cancer – highlights that only 5% of breast cancer cases are directly linked to high risk genes. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK, with 44,000 diagnoses a year. Recent research findings suggest that controlling weight and making wise diet and exercise decisions can reduce your risk by as much as 40%.
Manchester-based dietician, Dr Michelle Harvie, has formulated a groundbreaking diet – The Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Diet – to help our resolutions along. To explain how women can actively reduce their risk of developing the disease, the diet draws on evidence from Genesis’ researchers and other specialists in nutrition, cancer prevention, and genetics.
The Genesis Appeal has outlined its ten commandments to help people adapt their lifestyle for the better this New Year and reduce their risk:
1. Watch your weight, and calorie intake. Gaining more than three stone in weight from the age of 20 can double your chances of developing breast cancer after the menopause.
2. Do more exercise. Aim to include 3-4 hours of exercise each week (i.e. five 35 - 45 minute sessions each week). A quarter of all breast cancer cases worldwide are due to excess weight, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
3. Limit your alcohol intake. Each drink you have on a daily basis can increase your risk by 7% – therefore someone who has five drinks every day can increase their risk by up to 35%!
4. Reduce your intake of saturated (animal) and trans fats by cutting down on fatty meats, high fat dairy foods, cakes, biscuits, pastry, crisps and many margarines. Not all fat is bad for us – the fats found in oily fish, avocado, and rapeseed, walnut and olive oils are part of a healthy anti-cancer diet.
5. Eat more wholegrain and less refined (white) starchy foods. Wholegrains help to control levels of cancer-promoting hormones in the body and boost your intake of cancer-beating nutrients like selenium and vitamin E.
6. Include plenty of different coloured fruit and vegetables. These are a great way to fill you up and control your calorie intake; aim for at least five portions a day.
7. Include low fat dairy products such as yoghurt, low fat milk, and cottage cheese – rich in calcium and often vitamin D – which help protect us from cancer.
8. Be aware of taking HRT in the long term as it contains oestrogen and progesterone and can increase the risk of breast cancer. The increased risk does disappear within five to ten years of stopping the combined HRT.
9. Be breast aware. There is good advice on breast awareness from www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.
10. Attend breast screening, if eligible. Women aged between 50 and 70 receive an invitation for breast mammography every three years. If you are over 70, you can still attend by contacting your GP when the screening unit is in your area. If you are under 50, you may be eligible for a mammogram if a close relative has had breast cancer at a young age (under 50).
Dr Harvie explained: “Far too many people believe that there is nothing they can do to avoid falling victim to breast cancer. In actual fact, committing to the easy lifestyle adjustments in our Genesis ‘ten commandments’ can empower them to significantly reduce their chances of developing breast cancer. Prevention really is the way forward – and women of all ages can pledge to do something positive to not only look and feel better in 2008, but also to vastly reduce their chances of developing this terrible disease.”
Lester Barr, breast cancer surgeon and Chairman of The Genesis Appeal, predicted that thousands of lives could be saved every year through these simple recommendations. “Currently, one in ten women in the UK is expected to develop breast cancer. The aim of The Genesis Appeal is to create a future without breast cancer, by making 1 in 10, none in 10. Preventative lifestyle changes, as outlined in our ‘ten commandments’, are resolutions very worth sticking to and can help make this aim a reality.”
The Genesis Appeal has helped to fund the newly opened Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre, which is Europe’s first ever, purpose built centre of its kind. The £14 million state-of-the-art project – based in Manchester – brings together internationally recognised medical experts and will house pioneering work into diagnosis, education and research into the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
Julaine Speight or Jane Carroll
E: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Tel: 0161 941 4252
Notes to Editors:
• For more information about the charity or The Nightingale Centre and Genesis Prevention Centre see: www.genesisuk.org or call 0161 291 4400.
• To order the Breast Cancer Prevention Diet book call: 01256302699 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
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