This October we’re calling on people to ‘take five minutes’ out of their day during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to discover the simple lifestyle changes that could prevent a staggering 13,000 breast cancer cases each year in the UK (1).

We want you to visit our new Prevention Hub to take our simple lifestyle quiz, which takes around five minutes and measures your health, exercise and alcohol intake. The results create a personalised prevention plan. The hub also offers a wealth of advice on breast cancer prevention.

Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK, with one in seven women estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime (2). However, a recent poll, carried out by YouGov on behalf of the charity, shows that over half of UK adults (58%) weren’t aware that breast cancer can be prevented through lifestyle changes alone.

Sadly, not all breast cancers are preventable and women (and men) will get breast cancer through no fault of their own. But studies have shown that by making changes to your lifestyle you can significantly reduce your chances of getting the disease in the first place (3).
By making some everyday changes to your lifestyle for example maintaining a healthy weight and diet, drinking little or no alcohol, keeping active and avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals, women can reduce their risk of getting breast cancer.

Speaking about the charity’s prevention hub, our CEO, Thalie Martini explains “There are so many simple life-changes that people can introduce to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer, such as reducing alcohol, building physical activity into your daily routine, and maintaining a healthy weight. While we now understand how breast cancer develops, and what the risk factors are, there is limited attention given to its prevention. With such high numbers of breast cancers being avoidable and with incidence rates expected to continue to rise, it’s a real concern that over half the population are still unaware that breast cancer can be prevented.

“Evidence shows that taking preventative measures at any stage of your life works to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer and it is never too early or too late to adopt these changes. We urge people to take time for themselves and head over to our hub. It takes as little as five minutes, but could arm you with the tailored advice that could stop you from developing breast cancer.”

Whilst attention to breast checking is absolutely vital, we want to educate the public on the importance of putting lifestyle tweaks in place which could make all the difference to breast cancer developing in the first place.

Dr Bana Haddad, Medical Adviser to Breast Cancer UK said “The findings of the poll clearly demonstrate that there is more work to be done to highlight the importance of prevention. As a GP and medical expert, I am passionate about helping people understand the importance of prevention methods and why the time to make changes is now. So many people have questions and fears about breast cancer, and most are not aware the power to reduce their risk is in their hands. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a perfect time to get this message out there.”

Supporting our ‘take five minutes’ call to action is 39-year-old Amanda Hancox from Brighton. Amanda had always described her boobs as ‘lumpy’ but had never been too concerned with the risks of developing breast cancer, as she was young and not thought to be high risk. However, a few years ago she had what she describes as ‘her first proper cancer scare.’

When she saw the doctor, she was given the worrying news that it could be serious and that further tests were needed. “I was absolutely beyond panicked. I was due to be heading off on a long-distance holiday, but the doctor told me to cancel my plans.”

Thankfully, Amanda ended up getting the all clear but rather than feeling helpless, the scare prompted Amanda to take action and become more aware of the things she could do to reduce her risk of breast cancer in the future.

“When all this was happening, I thought I was invincible. Just because I looked good on the outside, I thought I’d be fine on the inside. I didn’t even think about my risk of breast cancer before this. I look after myself a lot better now, eating healthier, being aware of my alcohol intake, going to the gym and just looking after my body better. I’m also more aware of my body now and how it is feeling.

“I urge all women to become aware of your risks and find out what you can do to help prevent breast cancer in your future by visiting the BCUK Prevention Hub Quiz this Breast Cancer Awareness Month”.

We are resolute in our focus on encouraging the nation to focus on prevention, which can be hugely instrumental in battling breast cancer now and in the future.

To begin your prevention journey, take our prevention quiz

To find out more on how to reduce your risk of breast cancer visit our Prevention Hub

Join in our 25 Saves Lives campaign during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and let us help you to be more active – take on a 25 Challenge, Sign up for 25 days of free Pilates classes or our 25 Fitness Festival on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 October.

References

1. Cancer Research UK. Breast cancer incidence (invasive) statistics | Cancer Research UK (Accessed Sep 20, 2021); Breast Cancer UK. UK Breast Cancer Statistics | Breast Cancer UK (Accessed Sep 20, 2021)
2. Breast cancer statistics | Cancer Research UK
3. World Health Organisation (2021). Breast Cancer. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/breast-cancer (Accessed: Sep 20, 2021)

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,271 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th – 13th September 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


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