Febfast challenge helps reduce cancer

Women across the Coast’s north are being urged to take part in Febfast to help lower breast cancer cases in the region

One of the Central Coast’s leading breast surgeons, Dr Mary Ling, is encouraging women across the Coast’s north to minimise their risk of breast cancer, by ditching alcohol and taking up the Febfast challenge in February.
Powered by Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), Febfast is the great Australian pause from alcohol, sugar or something of your choice, for the month of February, in support of disadvantaged young people aged 12-25 across the country.
Participants are encouraged to give up something of their choice and register to take on the challenge.
The money raised funds youth workers who dedicate their time to connect young people with the support, programs and services they require to overcome adversity and realise opportunity.
Torrens University’s Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) revealed in 2017 that the former Wyong Shire was the cancer capital of the Central Coast, with cancer rates 20 per cent higher for all forms of the disease than the NSW average.
The suburbs of Wyong and Watanobbi were revealed as the Coast’s cancer cluster, recording individual cancer rates 20 per cent above the state average.
Blue Haven, Doyalson and Chain Valley Bay were also labelled cancer hot spots, recording rates 16 per cent higher that the state average.
Dr Ling said Febfast was the perfect opportunity for local women to give their breast care a boost by giving up alcohol for the month.
“Recent research has shown that wine o’clock during our working week is a contributing factor for breast cancer that many women may be underestimating.
“The evidence is solid, with a recent Cancer Council Australia report stating that one in five of the nation’s breast cancer cases is now linked to excessive alcohol consumption,” Dr Ling said.
According to Dr Ling, the alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer through two main ways: Alcohol is broken down by the body into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde, which can damage DNA in cells and stop cells from repairing that damage, leading to cancerous cells developing; and by increasing the levels of oestrogen in the body, which is linked to the development of breast cancer.
Aside from breast cancer, alcohol is also linked to cancers of the mouth, pharynx (upper throat), larynx (voice box), oesophagus, bowel and liver.
“There is no level of drinking, or types of alcohol, that is considered safe for avoiding cancer.
“If you choose to drink alcohol, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends no more than two standard drinks a day,” Dr Ling said.

Media release, Jan 14
Jane Worthington, Write this Way Media
Website, Jan 17
Febfast Australia
Document, Jul 13, 2017
PHIDU Social Health Atlas of Australia: Central Coast LHD Cancer Report
Dilon Luke, Journalist

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