October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, during which charities and organizations across the nation work to raise awareness of the most common cancer in women worldwide. This month, SENREVE is standing alongside the women affected by breast cancer, acknowledging that it is important to be proactive when it comes to learning about and preventing the disease. Most importantly, SENREVE is taking the month to remind the women who do it all, who defy trade offs and empower others, that this is time to take care of themselves. That is why SENREVE has partnered with World Cancer Research Fund , one of the world’s leading cancer prevention charities, to provide our community with relevant research and resources.
Heart Charm in Rose
During the month of October, SENREVE is donating 20% of net proceeds on select items to World Cancer Research Fund, a not-for-profit organization and leading authority on cancer prevention research related to diet, nutrition and physical activity. To gain a deeper insight into the organization and its efforts, we recently spoke to Rachael Gormley, WCRF’s UK CEO, to learn more about its initiatives and how we can become advocates for breast cancer awareness in our communities.
World Cancer Research Fund has several Breast Cancer Research Grants. What was the motivation behind launching these grants, and what have some past recipients accomplished?
Our vision is to live in a world where no one develops a preventable cancer. In order to help us to achieve this, World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) funds research into cancer prevention and survival through lifestyle.
This research looks at the effects of diet, nutrition (including body composition) and physical activity on cancer prevention. Our grant programme, which has been running since 1991, has so far funded £103 million of research, and has had a real impact on preventing cancer and improving the lives of cancer survivors.
Some of these projects focus on the effect lifestyle factors have on breast cancer risk, whilst others look at the effect lifestyle factors have on the outcomes after being diagnosed with breast cancer. For example, a project led by Dr Kostas Tsilidis at Imperial College London, looked at the effects of 92 different foods and nutrients on breast cancer risk. The study confirmed the increased risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol consumption and suggested that higher intake of dietary fibre and possibly fruit might be associated with reduced breast cancer risk.
Another project led by Dr Isabelle Soerjomataram’s team at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) looked at the effect of obesity on breast cancer and found that the duration and intensity of being overweight as an adult has a long‐lasting influence on breast and colorectal cancer survival.
Rachael Gormley, WCRF’s UK CEO, and World Cancer Research Fund Logo
SENREVE was founded to uplift women who do it all, but we recognize the utmost importance of taking care of ourselves. What are some important preventative measures that women should take to reduce their risk of breast cancer?
Typically, women put others first. However, by carving out some time for self-care, there are some simple lifestyle changes that can be made which will reduce your risk of developing breast (and other) cancers.
Firstly, choosing not to drink alcohol is one way you can reduce your risk of breast cancer, as there is strong evidence that drinking alcohol is a cause of breast cancer.
It is also really important to try to maintain a healthy weight and avoid weight gain as an adult to decrease your risk of breast cancer after the menopause. We know that consistently being a healthy weight can be really difficult, but eating healthily and being physically active will help you be a healthy weight.
Being physically active itself also reduces the risk of breast cancer. All physical activity helps protect against postmenopausal breast cancer, and vigorous physical activity specifically lowers the risk of premenopausal breast cancer. We recommend doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week, and to sit less. Moderate physical includes brisk walking, gardening, cycling, household chores, swimming and dancing. Vigorous physical activity includes running, aerobics, sports such as squash, netball and football, and fast cycling.
As well as certain lifestyle factors that help protect you against breast cancer, most cases of breast cancer can be treated successfully if caught early. It’s really important to go to breast cancer screenings whenever you’re invited.
What preventative tests should they consider and at what age?
Screening programmes will differ depending on where you live in the world. In the UK, for example, the NHS Breast Screening Programme provides free screening for all women aged 50 and over. If you have a family history of breast cancer, and particularly if a close relative was diagnosed before the age of 50, then it’s important to speak to your doctor. They can refer you to specialist genetic testing if it's thought you have an increased risk of breast cancer.
WCRF Cancer Prevention Recommendations
One of SENREVE’s brand pillars is empowerment. What are some of World Cancer Research Fund’s initiatives toward raising awareness and empowering the public with knowledge about cancer risk?
The latest official predictions suggest that the annual number of new cancer cases is expected to rise by 58% globally by 2040. World Cancer Research Fund is committed to saving as many lives as possible by funding cutting-edge research, so that we can inspire and empower people to make informed lifestyle choices that minimise their risk of preventable cancers. We do this by producing clear and accessible advice and information that cuts through the jargon and is based on the latest evidence-based research.
You can find our health information on our website, in the form of downloads, booklets and leaflets. Our Weight Matters guide is for anyone who wants to manage their weight – whether that is losing weight or helping stop the pounds from creeping on. It has practical tips and advice, as well as goal-setting and a food and physical diary at the back to help you keep on track.
We also provide tools to help people incorporate our Cancer Prevention Recommendations into their lives. For example, we have a website full of healthy and delicious recipes that are easy and cheap to cook. Check out our recipes at www.wcrf-uk.org/recipes.
We also want to reach people from a young age because it’s never too early to start forming healthy habits – and the earlier, the better. That’s why we’ve launched Eat Move Learn – a new online resource for children that teaches them about eating healthily and being active in a fun way. We plan on working with children more to support them in a healthier, happier future.
By 2040 it is predicted that new breast cancer cases shall rise to 3 million per year, from 2 million in 2018. What are some ways to get involved to increase breast cancer awareness and advocacy?
One way you can get involved is to share our Cancer Prevention Recommendations. There’s so much conflicting advice out there, but our information is based on the most up-to-date and comprehensive research, so you know you can trust it.
Finally, you can support us with a generous donation to help us continue our vital research. There are many ways to fundraise for us and your contribution, no matter the size, could be life-changing.
WCRF’s Easy-to-Use Cancer Health Check Tool
SENREVE was also founded with the principle of leveraging innovation along with tradition; World Cancer Research Fund promotes cutting-edge research into the links between lifestyle and cancer. What are some of the most significant or recent findings in this area?
WCRF was the first charity to identify strong links between diet, body weight, and cancer risk and has been leading the field in this area for over 30 years. Our most recent findings show there is strong evidence that being physically active decreases the risk of breast cancer, while consuming alcoholic drinks increases the risk.
One of our most ground-breaking projects over the years has been our Continuous Update Project (CUP). Working with Imperial College, London, we systematically review all of the scientific research into cancer prevention from around the world. We then analyse and interpret the data and use the findings to inform our Cancer Prevention Recommendations.
We are also working on a new report, due next year, into breast cancer survival – this will be building on our previous work in this area.
Did You Know?
- Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women, and second most common cancer overall
- There were over 2 million new breast cancer cases in 2018 globally
- This is an increase of 300,000 new cases worldwide since 2012
- By 2040 it is predicted that new breast cancer cases shall rise to 3 million a year
Be Empowered, Be Prepared
At SENREVE, we want to ensure that we are educated and prepared to face the challenges associated with breast cancer. To begin, we have compiled a list of helpful resources:
WCRF - Women’s Health Guide
WCRF - October Support Group
WCRF - Personal Story From Survivor
WCRF - Health Tools
**From October 5 to October 31, SENREVE will donate 20% of net proceeds on select items to World Cancer Research Fund, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. World Cancer Research Fund is one of the world’s leading cancer prevention charities and empowers people to take action to lead healthier, happier, cancer-free lives.