A HEALTHY diet is key in reducing your risk of developing breast cancer and also to support your body if you are undergoing treatment or recovering from cancer. There are so many inspirational women who have fought through this disease and who are inspiring other women.
There are many foods, lifestyle changes and exercise programmes that you can use to help you achieve this.
Here is a summary of some of the most important dietary changes, but it is by no means exhaustive.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and veggies
The 'five a day' mantra is really the minimum amount of fresh produce recommended for good health.
A study, by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), nicknamed the 'Nine are Divine Anti Cancer Diet' examined whether a diet high in fruits and vegetables would protect women's DNA from damage caused by dangerous free radicals in the body.
Fruits and vegetables teem with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals ("phyto" meaning plant) that neutralise free radicals in the test tube.
Researchers compared levels of damaged DNA in blood samples taken before and after the diet of more than nine servings of fruit and vegetables a day and the results surprised even the study's lead author, breast cancer researcher Henry Thompson, PhD.
After the women had been on the new eating plan for just two weeks, DNA damage to their white blood cells dropped 21.5pc.
If scientists do validate DNA damage as a biomarker for cancer risk, this study shows that some of the benefits of eating at least 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily are almost immediate.
Eating a plant-based diet is the best way to help lower your risk of cancer .
Cosy up to whole grains
The AICR research also shows that whole grains like corn, whole wheat, oats and brown rice have powerful antioxidant cancer-fighting agents that have gone undocumented for years.
The study found that whole grains exhibit a level of anti-cancer activity equal to, and sometimes greater than, the level known to occur in vegetables and fruits.
The scientists involved in the new study say that the key to whole grain's enormous cancer-fighting potential lies in its very wholeness.
A grain of whole wheat is composed of three parts: endosperm, bran and germ.
When wheat or any grain is refined, the bran and germ where most of the protective phytochemicals and fibre are stored are removed.
Beans, lentils and chickpeas
There have been a number of different studies on the consumption of beans, lentils and chickpeas and the prevention of cancers, including breast cancers as these foods seem to have a protective effect on female cancers.
According to two studies in the 'International Journal of Cancer', eating regular servings of beans and lentils could have a powerful preventative influence.
The first study investigated the link between consumption of flavonols – substances in plant-based foods that are thought to offer protection against a variety of diseases – and the risk of developing breast cancer in premenopausal women.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston analysed data from more than 90,000 premenopausal women who participated in the 'Nurses Health Study II'.
The researchers compared the women's intake of a variety of flavonols with their chance of developing breast cancer. Over the course of the study, 710 of the women were diagnosed with breast cancer.
While the researchers found no association between breast cancer risk and consumption of the types of flavonols contained in tea, onions, apples, string beans, broccoli, green peppers, and blueberries, they found that women who ate beans and lentils on a regular basis were less likely to develop breast cancer.
In fact, they found that women who ate beans or lentils at least twice a week were 24pc less likely to develop breast cancer than women who ate those foods less than once a month.
It used to be thought that sugar in your diet 'feeds' cancer cells because cancer cells use a large amount of glucose in replicating. This isn't quite as simple as it sounds, but this knowledge is being used to create new groundbreaking drugs in the treatment of cancers.
From a dietary perspective, what an excess of dietary sugar and refined carbohydrates does, plus a sedentary lifestyle, is put you at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and its precursor, insulin resistance, also known as metabolic syndrome.
Secondly, insulin is a 'grower' and is a hormonal stimulant for cell proliferation. A study over five years in Cancer Epidemiology Markers shows that consistent elevated blood glucose levels (that is to say someone who is insulin resistant or who has Type 2 Diabetes) increases your risk of breast cancer by up to 40pc.
Reduce saturated and trans fats and increase healthy fats
According to Cancer Research UK, an excess of saturated fat in your diet can double your risk of breast cancer.
Saturated fats are mostly found in animal foods like red meat, full fat dairy products and hard cheese, the skin on poultry and the fat in pork and bacon.
Excess consumption of red meat is linked to certain cancers and it is recommended that you eat no more than 500g of cooked red meat a week.
Processed meats are a complete no no as the combination of excess salt and chemicals such as nitrates and phosphates are directly linked to increased risk of cancers.
Trans fats are created when hydrogen gas is bubbled through an otherwise healthy oil which changes its molecular structure.
From a manufacturers' point of view, this extends the shelf life of a product.
Trans fats are singularly one of the most dangerous 'foods' that we put in our mouths and have been banned in many countries.
They are directly linked to cancers, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, stroke and hormonal disruption.
If you see the words 'hydrogenated' or 'partially hydrogenated' on products like biscuits, cakes, pastries, ready meals etc, PUT IT DOWN.
On the upside, the Omega 3 essential fats found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and trout and plant foods such as flaxseed, chai seeds and walnuts are proven to have preventative benefits.
Nuts like almonds and Brazil nuts also contain antioxidants like Vitamin E and healthy fats that are beneficial in cancer prevention.