Sunday, 18 October 2009

Breast Cancer: opinions and initiatives

Following my earlier posts on Cancer, I have been browsing the net and bumped into the website of the Prime Minister's Office (, which states : 'The NHS breast cancer screening programme currently diagnoses more than 14,000 cases of breast cancer each year and saves about 1,400 lives each year, but in 2008 more than a quarter of women failed to take up the opportunity to be screened.' These are scary figures that cannot be ignored.

Breastfeeding and cancer
In the BfN volunteers' forum, a discussion has started regarding the minimisation  of breastfeeding as a factor that can decrease the risk of breast cancer on a charity's website ( I stole a look and agree that the page doesn't mention breastfeeding and when you download the PDF with the full list of factors, breastfeeding is mentioned in a dismissive way. 

Cooking for chemo
Sarah Stewart who set up  Bollocks to Breast Cancer Campaign after being diagnosed with breast cancer this year, sent me a 'tasteful' press release. Eckington Manor Cookery School in Worcestershire is running a unique cookery demonstration for women going through breast cancer treatment. The event is on the night of 23 October (7.00pm to 8.30pm) as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Cancer treatment is long, arduous and affects every part of a sufferer's life. Most of us know that people often lose their hair during chemo, but few realise the host of additional  problems, such as issues with eating. As well as experiencing a metallic taste, the chemicals affect the immune system leaving the mouth sore or prone to infections. Patients often crave food that is either warm or well chilled or feel like nothing at all because of nausea.

Eckington's owner, Judy Gardner, says: 'Not only is nutrition critical when a person is going through chemo but also the taste, texture and temperature are vital too. I’ve supported so many friends through treatment, I know it’s a time when the right sort of food can provide great comfort. The evening is aimed at patients themselves, their friends and family and anyone keen to know more about healthy food in its very literal sense.'

Tutor chef Dean Cole will show participants how to prepare the following dishes, each designed to offer different benefits to chemo patients:

  • Mustard Prawns
  • Speedy Beef Noodles
  • Apple Fool

Also on hand will be Worcester Royal Hospital’s dietician, Ladan Hajihassani, to answer specific questions on nutrition. The price is £12.50 per person which includes the demonstration, tasters of the dishes and a recipe pack to take home. Tickets are available by calling the school on 01386 751600.

Eckington Manor is also running a raffle through to Christmas to raise money for the Worcester Breast Unit. Visit for further information, additional course details and costs. 

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