I lost my mother to breast cancer a few years ago and know so many of us have family or friends touched by this cancer. I thought therefore that you may want to hear from one of the most eminent specialists in this field, Professor Kefah Mokbel. I made a decision to be checked regularly at the Princess Grace Hospital and on my last visit I asked if Professor Mokbel would share with all my customers his words of advice during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I was delighted he said yes.

He also gave me a sheet of dietary tips to help avoid breast cancer, which he kindly said I could share with you. You will find it here in a downloadable format.

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Professor Kefah Mokbel

Professor Kefah Mokbel FRCS is the Lead Breast Surgeon at the London Breast Institute of the Princess Grace Hospital, an Honorary Consultant Breast Surgeon at St. George's Hospital, Professor of Breast Cancer Surgery at The Brunel Institute of Cancer Genetics and Pharmacogenomics (London, UK) and the founder and current president of Breast Cancer Hope, a UK-based charity. He is ranked among the top 25 breast cancer experts in the world and among the top 5 breast cancer experts in the UK. He was named in Tatler magazine's Best Doctors Guide as one of the featured "Top Breast Surgeons" in 2006, 2007 and 2013. In November 2010 he was named in the Times magazine's list of Britain's Top Doctors. According to Expertscape, Professor Mokbel is considered to be the top Breast Expert in London.

Professor Mokbel, your expertise in this field is second-to-none – what would be the one thing you would recommend women did to help protect themselves against breast cancer?

Minimise your alcohol consumption and optimise your vitamin D levels.

We have all been touched by breast cancer: if not directly; we know a family member, a friend or colleague. All we want to do is to make those who are ill feel better. How can we best support someone who has breast cancer?

Close friends and family play an important role in providing both practical and emotional support to women diagnosed with breast cancer. The practical support ranges from coming with the patient to clinic and treatment sessions to cooking a nice meal. The emotional support entails, in addition to providing a positive social environment, allowing the patient to discuss their concerns, negative thoughts and fears - in an open and trustworthy manner. This is because emotion suppression has a negative effect on the patient.

Your charity, Breast Cancer Hope, is "dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of life in women diagnosed with breast cancer". Hope and a positive outlook are often heralded as powerful in the fight against cancer. Please tell us about your experience of the effects of such positivity.

We know from clinical practice that women who develop a positive attitude following their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment tend to have a better clinical outcome. This is because breast cancer is a disease of the breast, body, mind and spirit. The interplay between the biochemical environment and breast cancer cells determines the clinical outcome. Optimising this biochemical environment known as the ‘terrain’ through regular exercise, healthy living, stress management (yoga, meditation, psychotherapy) and optimal nutrition improves breast cancer cure rates. The development of a negative attitude including anxiety, stress and depression creates a favourable environment for breast cancer cells to grow and increases the risk of breast cancer relapse. Therefore in integrative oncology, we combine complementary approaches with conventional evidence-based breast cancer treatment in order to optimise breast cancer cure rates and improve the quality of life of our patients.

LONDON BREAST INSTITUTE: http://www.londonbreastinstitute.co.uk/
BREAST CANCER HOPE: http://www.breastcancerhope.org.uk/
For further information and up-to-date tips for breast cancer prevention you can follow Professor Mokbel on Twitter at breastguide