Breast cancer myths busted


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Breast cancer affects nearly 55,000 women in the UK every year but there are so many myths about the condition, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction.

At the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Nuffield Health’s professional head of mammography, Sue Oliver, is here to help set the record straight and help you keep healthy.

Myth: Most breast lumps are cancerous
Discovering a lump doesn’t mean you have breast cancer. Around 80% of breast lumps are caused by benign (noncancerous) changes, cysts, or other conditions but it is a good idea to have all lumps checked to be sure.

Myth: Breast cancer always comes in the form of a lump
A lump is just one indication of breast cancer. Other breast changes to look out for such include changes to breast skin (swelling, skin irritation or dimpling), changes to the shape and size of the breasts, breast or nipple pain, nipple inversion, redness, scaliness, thickening of the nipple or breast skin, or a discharge other than breast milk.

Myth: If you’re at risk for breast cancer, there’s little you can do but watch for the signs
There are many things you can do to lower your risk of cancer. Losing weight, taking regular exercise, lowering alcohol consumption, examining your breasts regularly and stopping smoking are all positive steps to take.

Myth: Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk
It is estimated that around 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors for the disease. The family-history risks to be aware of are:

  • One first degree female relative diagnosed with breast cancer aged younger than 40 (a first degree relative is your parent, brother or sister, or your child).
  • One first degree male relative diagnosed with breast cancer at any age.
  • One first degree relative with cancer in both breasts where the first cancer was diagnosed aged younger than 50.
  • Two first degree relatives, or one first degree and one second degree relative, diagnosed with breast cancer at any age (second degree relatives are aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, and grandchildren).
  • One first degree or second degree relative diagnosed with breast cancer at any age and one first degree or second degree relative diagnosed with ovarian cancer at any age (one of these should be a first degree relative).
  • Three first degree or second degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer at any age.

Myth: Wearing an underwire bra increases your risk of getting breast cancer
Claims that underwire bras compress the lymphatic system of the breast, causing toxins to accumulate and cause breast cancer, are not backed up by any scientific research. The consensus is that neither the type of bra you wear nor the tightness of your underwear or other clothing has any connection to breast cancer risk.

Myth: Wearing antiperspirant increases your risk of getting breast cancer
There are claims that parabens, used as preservatives in some antiperspirants, have weak oestrogen-like properties and may contribute to breast cancer development. But no cause-and-effect connection between parabens and breast cancer has been established.

Myth: Small-breasted women have less chance of getting breast cancer
Very small breasts and very large breast can be difficult to examine using mammography and MRI but there is no evidence to show that women with small breasts are less likely to develop breast cancer. Mammographers are specially trained to ensure women of all sizes can be screened. More important than size is the type of tissue the breast is made of. Very dense tissue, which shows up white on a mammogram, can make it difficult to detect small cancers.

Myth: Caffeine causes breast cancer
No causal connection has been found between drinking caffeine and getting breast cancer. In fact, some research suggests that caffeine may actually lower your risk. So far it’s inconclusive whether breast soreness may be linked to caffeine.

Myth: Women with lumpy breasts (fibrocystic breast changes) have a higher risk of developing breast cancer
In the past, women with lumpy, dense or fibrocystic breasts were believed to be at higher risk of getting breast cancer, but there doesn’t appear to be a connection after all. However, when you have lumpy breasts, it can be trickier to differentiate normal tissue from cancerous tissue, so you should report any changes to your GP.

Myth: Mammograms expose you to so much radiation that they increase your risk of cancer
While it is true that radiation is used in mammography, the amount is so small that any associated risks are tiny when compared to the huge preventive benefits gained from the test. Mammograms can detect lumps well before they can be felt or otherwise noticed, and the earlier that lumps are caught, the better one’s chances of a positive outcome.

To find out more take a look at breast cancer and watch the Nuffield’s Ultimate guide to checking your breasts

The Best Ways to Groom Your Eyebrows


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eyebrowsNever have eyebrows been more of a vital part in your grooming routine than in 2015, and there are several key looks this autumn and winter which incorporate a heavily styled brow. Whether you go for the barely-there look or the more up-to-date thicker styles, eyebrows must be kept neat and well-groomed to look their best, so we thought we’d take a look at some of the best ways to groom your eyebrows, either by yourself or in a salon.


Plucking is the most popular ‘go-to’ method as it’s simple, accurate and can be done at home with little effort or expenditure. The key with plucking is to avoid over-plucking as this can make eyebrows look terse and will change the whole shape of your face. Cleanse your face with Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse Wipes, concentrating on the eyebrow area to avoid spots or ingrown hairs.


Waxing is a great method for getting a clean shape and slow regrowth, and can be performed both at home and in a salon. Salons tend to use liquid wax for the accuracy, however the easiest way to wax your eyebrows at home is to either use pre-shaped wax strips or use an eyebrow stencil to help you cut a full-size wax strip to the right shape. Apply Decleor Post-Wax Cream for Sensitive Areas once you’re done to help calm any redness.


Threading is an ancient method of hair removal which originated in Asia and uses a twisted piece of cotton to pluck hairs out quickly. It’s highly accurate and gives fantastic results, and can be used on just about any area of the face. In fact, if you’re a threading newbie and go to a salon, don’t be alarmed if they ask if you’d like your whole face threaded, top lip and all! One downside with threading is that some people find it quite painful, however millions of women do it and love it, so it must be worth the discomfort.


Bleaching facial hair is not quite so common these days as there are other methods available, however it’s good if you don’t want to deal with stubbly regrowth or have hair between your eyebrows that you don’t want to remove. Ensure you don’t damage your skin by leaving the bleach on for the minimum time needed and replenish any moisture you may have stripped away with an application of Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance afterwards.


If you’re possessed of a steady hand, you may choose to shave your eyebrows and some people choose to remove theirs altogether, in favour of a drawn-on brow. If we’re honest, shaving our brows is really not our idea of fun, however if you do choose to do so, make sure you use a good barrier, such as Dermalogica Close Shave Oil and apply a post-shave treatment such as Dermalogica Soothing Shave Cream to reduce irritation.

Autumn Wardrobe Essentials


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Whilst maxi dresses and vest tops were perfect for the beach bar in August, September has bought with it cloudy skies and chilly winds which means it is time to enjoy wrapping yourself in layers and knits.

We have put together a round up of the fashion winners for A/W15 that will ensure however cold it gets outside, you will look hot all winter long.

The Polo Neck
With a slight ‘70s vibe, polo necks have been all over the catwalk this season with Jonathan Saunders and Victoria Beckham amongst many designers featuring them. Close fits and wide roll-necks are the perfect throw-over-jeans top, and will score top fashion marks as well as keeping you warm.

Tux Blazer
Looking for a smart jacket that will take you from morning to night? Look not further than a classic midnight blue or black tux blazer with a nod to statin details. This wardrobe staple will look great with a dress and heels but even when paired with slouchy jeans and flats you will stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.

Bretton Top
This classic staple works with everything from a party skirt to white jeans and believe us, it can soon become a fashion obsession because it looks so good whatever the weather.

Jumper Dress
Knits are not just for cardigans and are a total winner when it comes to the versatile jumper dress. Don’t go body-con tight, instead look for a dress with flare or a tailored option to make it modern then add a scarf and boots and you are good to go.

Camel Coat
The classic camel coat comes and goes, but take a look around the High Street at the moment and you can’t fail to notice that it has made a comeback this autumn. More exciting than basic black, this neutral hue goes with pretty much every pattern and shade you can imagine, and can take you from desk to bar, making it a worthwhile investment.

Biker Boots a Go Go
Whilst Chelsea, knee highs and over the knee boots are out their for the taking, it’s the biker that’s ticking all the fashion boxes this winter. Black with bold, gold hardward are bang on the money and whether they’re paired with skinnies and a leather jacket or a LBD, these seasonally transitional boots are a must for your wardrobe.

Suit Trousers
When it comes to parties, 2015 is going to be the year of smart evening trousers, we are sure of it. Whether you pick out a high-waist style or a low slung fit, they both offer a luxe, flattering look that you can dress up and make look sensational.

Whether it is a stole, coat or gillet, if it is faux-fur you will instantly become a style goddess with one of these lovelies draped over your shoulder.

Simple Suede Skirt
Suede is a serious trend this autumn and one you should consider getting involved with. The intense power of the rich material perks up every look and whether you opt for chestnut brown, flaming red or even vivid violet, this is a classic look with a modern twist you can’t help but love.

Winter Florals
Just because the sun has set, it doesn’t mean you can’t work floral prints into your wadrobe this winter. Swap pastels for regal teals and rich red teamed with opaques and loafers and you will look sweet.

Tote Believe It
The tote is oversized both when it comes to size but also style and is the perfect way to pack up your life, day and night. Bold colours are on trend and opt for a buttery soft leather or velvety suede to make this a practical but chic winner.

Talk a walk on the wild side this autumn


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Talk a walk on the wild side this autumn
We all know that walking is good for you and as part of the Great British Walk campaign, the National Trust has unearthed some of the real benefits of an old fashioned stroll.

Their recent research, carried out with Cotswold Outdoor, revealed that a walk by the sea will, on average, keep you asleep for an extra 47 minutes. It also helps you feel calmer (83%), make you happier (82%) and offer a sense of escapism (62 %). What’s not to like?

There are hundreds of walks and plenty of opportunities to get outdoors, connect with nature and supercharge those feelings of wellbeing at National Trust locations and between 19 September and 23 October, the only trouble is choosing what to do first.

Brownsea Island wildlife walk
Brownsea’s stunning landscape offers a peaceful haven for visitors and red squirrels alike. Autumn is the perfect time to watch these funny creatures foraging sweet chestnuts, beeches and hazel amongst the ornamental scarlet oaks from North America. The Brownsea Island wildlife walk lets you see view spot sea lavender, sika deer, as well as a huge variety of birds and those lovely red squirrels.

Autumn Colour Trail at Ashridge
This route leads you through spectacular woodland and parkland with hills to climb and breath-taking views of autumnal colour to view. The final stretch of the trail offers a stunning palette of colours provided by the beech, oak and lime trees, and if you have the time to climb the monument, the views of autumn splendour are dazzling. Lucky wildlife spotters may catch a glimpse of the resident muntjacs or fallow deer herds through the trees.

Baggy Point to Woolacombe circular walk
This ten mile circular walk takes hikers around Baggy Point, along the sand dunes of Woolacombe Warren and back along the beach with breath-taking views of the coast. Woolacombe’s golden sands stretch for three miles and the waves that break on its shores attract surfers from around the world. With opportunities to climb, coasteer and surf on world-renowned waves, this is a great route for adventurous spirits. It’s also an excellent route for wild flowers and bird watching, so there really is something for everyone.

Ickworth ‘Off the beaten track’ walk
This five-mile route takes you off the beaten track to explore the lesser-known paths of Ickworth, a beautiful location. The tranquility of the park provides a safe haven for many animals, including birds, lizards, toads and even herds of deer, so it’s a great place to keep an eye out for wildlife. A blustery autumn walk wouldn’t be complete without a cosy café at the end and conveniently there’s the restaurant ready to serve you a nice cuppa and a slice of cake – the perfect break for tired legs.

Wasdale, Lake District Two Day Walk
With natural woodlands, towering mountains and winding paths down to England’s deepest lake, it’s easy to see why views over the glittering Wasdale are the best in the country. This two-day walk takes in the monumental landscape of the western Lakes, as well as a hike to the summit of Scafell Pike to make this a truly spectacular hike. The walk is set on land owned by, or leased to, the National Trust and you can camp in the beautiful Wasdale campsite, nestled under the Scafell mountain range at the head of Wastwater. What a stunning place to wake up!

Cliveden walking trail
It was the striking view of the River Thames that persuaded the second Duke of Buckingham to build his home in this spot. In the centuries since people have continued to be drawn to Cliveden for its scenic location: George Canning (who had a brief stint as Prime Minster in 1827) spent many hours sat under a giant oak tree looking out to the Thames, while Jerome K. Jerome, author of the 1889 novel ‘Three Men in a Boat’, described Cliveden Reach as ‘perhaps the sweetest stretch of all the river’. The estate’s miles of woodland paths provide great walks with stunning views around every corner. The Japanese water garden is also worth a visit, especially in the autumn when the trees begin to turn to the vibrant russets and reds of autumn.

Kinder Moorland Walk
For stunning views it’s hard to beat the windswept heights of the Kinder plateau, one of the Peak District’s striking areas of upland gritstone. The climb up is challenging, but at the top you are rewarded with a spectacular sweep across the Vale of Edale and the rugged moorland landscape.

The only problem is where to go first!

Beat Sugar for Good


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Got a sweet tooth but can’t give up the white stuff?

This isn’t surprising given that our bodies are pretty programmed to want more and more sugar for energy and our brains are bombarded with images and adverts 24/7.

Whilst we expect to find refined white sugar in sweet foods, it is really easy to unknowingly consume extra sugar every day from ready meals, processed foods, white bread, soup and even so called ‘healthy’ snacks.

We have found some easy ways to swap sugar for better choices so that you not only save your teeth from decay and your waistline from extra inches but also amazingly, give yourself more energy. Yes, really.

The breakfast swap is one the easiest to make and it’s one that can make a huge different to your entire day and health. Forget sugary cereal and pastries and instead go for porridge with sliced banana or a handful of blueberries and skimmed milk. You can also opt for a green smoothie packed with kale, avocado, almond milk and a scoop of peanut butter and you will be ready to go.

Forget those big fat fluffy white bagels stuffed with cream cheese and jam and instead make the wiser choice of a wholemeal English muffin topped with a tablespoon of almond butter and fresh strawberry slices.

Skip that large glass of orange juice and instead actually eat an orange. Being doing this you’ll reduce your sugar intake, increase your fibre intake and get a good dose of immune boosting vitamin C. Win, win.

Mega sandwiches made from thick white slice bread are a big no, no. A good swap is dark rye bread which tends to be less processed, contains considerably less refined sugars than it’s white cousin and is also higher in fibre, making you feel fuller for longer. Forget processed ham and pre-made spreads and instead pack a healthy punch with sliced avocado and smoked salmon, egg and tomato or tuna and black olives which all taste so good you won’t even know you are being healthy.

The fruit flavourings in yoghurts tend to come from artificial means or concentrate so they don’t contain any real fruit with nutritional benefits – just sugar! Go for a protein-rich plain yoghurt and top with fresh fruit for an antioxidant hit. Do remember not to over do fruit, yes it is good for you and counts as one of your five a day, but too much can overload your systems with fructose.

We all love pizzas but by swapping the traditional white base for a cauliflower one will make some serious nutritional improvements to your meal and your figure will love you too. Ready-made pizza bases tend to be high in sugar, so get creative and top a cauliflower base with fresh tomato sauce, goats cheese and olives.

Remember sugar is hidden everywhere. It is really scary to think there can be up to a staggering 22g of sugar per 100g of ketchup, that is a lot. Go back to basics and get some ripe tomatoes, lime juice, chili and spring onions and you can create a yummy salsa that won’t make your blood sugar spike but will get your taste buds tingling.

Rather than swapping fizzy drinks for diet options instead jazz up water with ice, mint leaves, cucumber or lemon slices and you will seriously reduce the sugar you consume and it will work wonders for your skin too.

None of this is rocket science, but we are pretty sure that using some of these simple, practical ideas will have a positive impact on your life and you never know, you might even like the changes.



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