What’s the Color of Action?

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Recently, many women have started adding their bra color to their Facebook status updates to help raise awareness about breast cancer.

Pink ribbon sweater small copy But we at AICR are wondering something, and we want to hear what you think.  Is raising awareness enough?

One NPR blogger, Shereen Meraji, asks this very question. “I changed my status, but I don’t know anything more about breast cancer or how to protect myself against it.”

She’s not alone.  In fact, according to a recent AICR survey, almost half of Americans are not aware of some basic steps we can take to lower our risk for several cancers.

Certainly, AICR applauds efforts to raise awareness about cancer.  But let’s also raise awareness about cancer prevention, while we’re at it.

Reminding your Facebook friends that breast cancer is a disease faced by millions of women is a good first step; but why not provide them with evidenced-based recommendations on how to protect themselves?

AICR recently updated the breast cancer chapter of our expert report on cancer prevention, and we estimate that about 40 percent of breast cancer cases in the U.S. (about 70,000 cases every year) are preventable.  Women can reduce their risk by limiting the amount of alcohol they drink, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active.

The Breast Cancer Update Reinforces AICR Recommendations:

1. Because of the link between body fat and cancer, AICR recommends people aim to be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
3. If they drink at all, people should limit consumption to one drink a day for a woman, two for a man.
4. Also, mothers should aim to breastfeed exclusively for up to six months and thn add other liquids and foods. Mothers who breastfeed reduce their risk and breastfeeding probably also reduces babies’ chances of gaining excess weight as they grow.

What do you think – does raising awareness need action too?

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Author: Alice RD

Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention into action by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

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