How to get involved with Cancer Prevention Week

ribbonMedical Specialists Pharmacy is a proud supporter of Cancer Prevention Week, which began on the 13 May and will be running to the 19th.

It is one of several dozens of awareness days and week-long events that run throughout the year and all have similar goals in mind; to increase people’s understanding and knowledge about a particular health condition, the help at hand for those suffering, and what steps/prevention methods can be taken to reduce your chances of developing the condition featured in the awareness event.

Cancer Prevention Week is an annual awareness and fundraising week coordinated by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF UK); a global network of charities, whom this week are trying to reach out to people and transmit one simple message – cancer is a considerably preventable disease if the right lifestyle choices are chosen.

During the week, WCRF UK in particularly are trying to convey how a third of the most common types of cancers could be prevented through diet and nutrition. For example, through:

. Eating a healthy plant-based diet.

. Becoming more physically active.

. Maintaining a healthy weight.

Some of the fun activities occurring this year for Cancer Prevention Week include Beat the Banana! and Fruity Friday. The Beat the Banana! race is a 5k run taking place tonight at 6.30pm in London’s Hyde Park. All runners, walkers and joggers can sign up now and participate in a fun-filled evening attempting to chase a giant banana to the finish line.

This is followed by tomorrow’s Fruity Friday. Workers across the country are encouraged to dress in yellow and donate £2 in the process, in addition to holding fruit-based events such as holding fruity breakfasts and charging £2 in return, fruit-themed quizzes with a cost of £2 to enter, fancy dress competitions, and much more.

Perhaps fittingly, it is also this week that 37-year-old Academy Award winning actress Angelina Jolie decided to go public on her recent double mastectomy operation, with her inspiring article published in Wednesday’s edition of the New York Times, explaining about the operations she has had.

The actress underwent her double mastectomy on 16 February at the Pink Lotus Breast Centre in Beverly Hills, California; the second of three operations which will bring down her breast cancer risk from 87% to just 5%. Following genetic testing, Jolie discovered she carried the ‘faulty’ BRCA1 gene, meaning she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer as well as a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer.

Jolie wrote: “On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”

After a decade-long fight with the disease, Jolie’s mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, tragically lost her life to cancer at the age of 56. “She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was. I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”

Giving a surprisingly vivid and detailed step-by-step account of what operations she had, Jolie explains how between early February and late April she had endured three months of surgical procedures to remove her breasts and then the reconstructive final operation on 27 April, where she received implants.

Doctors and medical experts of the disease have praised the actress’s brave decision to document her experiences to help raise the awareness of both the disease and the test that can be conducted for it. However, they have also stressed that the gene mutation Jolie has, is incredibly rare.

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