It’s 7:30 AM. I go down into the street. I walk past a hundred thousand women. Most of them are heading to their workplace. Others are just talking a stride. Some women are actually on to break their record of catching the bus without suffering a heart attack. Welcome to Egypt Walkathon for Breast Cancer. Starting from September 28th, Egyptian women have started walking to fight breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt (BCFE) initiated the call for the Walkathon (as part of the international Globe-athon) on Facebook and over 625 Egyptian women accepted the challenge and joined the marchers in Gezira Equestrian Club in Zamalek, Cairo.
Not only was this initiative important in terms of breast cancer awareness, but also since recent studies proved walking an hour a day to be a new method of cutting the chance of getting breast cancer significantly.
The recent paper submitted in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention journal stated that post-menopausal women who walk at least one hour a day have cut their risk of getting breast cancer later on more significantly than women who are less active. The study followed over 73,000 post-menopausal women between the ages 50-75. The women completed questionnaires about their lifestyles, health and outdoor activities: like walking, swimming, running and aerobics. They were also asked about the number of hours they spend in front of TV or reading.
The study went on for 17 years (from 1992-2009) where every two-year intervals the women had to answer the same questionnaires again at various stages of their lives. Women who walked at least 7 hours a week had at least 14% lower risk of breast cancer.
Dr Alpa Patel, team leader of the study and senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society said that 60% of the subjects reported daily walking among their outdoor activities. This goes in favor of promoting walking as a healthy yet mildly rigorous, leisure-time activity.
A lot of 40-year-old women and older have taken to prevention methods as their own motto of fighting breast cancer. Recent studies also prove that yoga and Pilates reduce lymphedema and postoperative complications. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) published a study stating that omega-3 rich foods (found in lean fish) help reduce risk of breast cancer. Incorporating leafy and cruciferous vegetables into your diet lowers the risk as well. Exercise has taken a huge step as a barrier from breast cancer. As the sport gets more strenuous and takes longer hours, the risk is even lower.
With this new discovery, many events have been held to promote walking as a healthy physical activity. Moonwalk 2013 is an event in London where women decorate their bras –in the inevitable pink- and take on the Half Moon (half-marathon distance), or the Full Moon (marathon distance) walks, each according to her ability and the challenge she is up to take. Other walk-a-thons include the Twilight Walk in Auckland, New Zealand, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s “Run for the Cure” and Framingham State University’s “Fashion Club” with its team for striding against breast cancer in Boston.
As the fight against breast cancer continues, let’s enjoy the Globe-athon. Is there a more beautiful sight than a woman walking in pink?
Written by: Jaylan Salah