The power of pink
October is more than just Halloween and candy corn. It’s also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the top cancer in women worldwide, and the second most common cancer overall, the first being lung cancer. According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, about two million new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in 2018.
Historically, breast cancer was thought to be a disease of developed countries, but it is now increasing in developing countries where almost half of new cases and deaths occur, due to the majority of cases diagnosed in later stages.
Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the breast begin to grow, forming a mass or lump. The cancer cells may spread from the breast to other parts of the body, known as metastasize. While the majority of cases occur in women, breast cancer can occur in men too, although very rarely (one percent of cases).
It is well known that experts often suggest excess weight, high alcohol consumption and lack of physical activity are risk factors associated to a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. One less researched area is on vitamin D, studies have not been conclusive, until now.
Published on 17 September 2018 in the Menopause journal, a study found that postmenopausal obese women had an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency at the time of breast cancer diagnosis than postmenopausal women without cancer. This could suggest that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for breast cancer, especially in women with a higher body mass index. However, it was not known whether the low vitamin D levels influenced risk or were a result of breast cancer. Experts say that obese people are more likely to be storing inactive vitamin D in their fat cells, leading to recommendations of eating healthy, exercising regularly and shedding the excess pounds if necessary.
Breast cancer can affect anyone, anywhere in the world. Early detection is still the best bet to improving health outcomes.
This October, to advocate this cause, pink ribbons will be worn in a series of activities such as marathons, F&B, etc to raise awareness, fund research, honour survivors and remember those who have succumbed to the disease. The ultimate goal is to improve and extend the lives of women and men living with breast cancer in all countries and to find a cure.
Lim Guan Yu
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org