Have a girls' night in!

Rebecca Davies
Thursday, September 25, 2008

What is Girls Night In?
The aim of the Girls Night In is to raise money for research into women's cancers by inviting your girlfriends around for a night in and asking them to donate the equivalent of what they would usually spend on a night out to the cause.

The Girls Night In can be held on any date in October and the host decides the entertainment. So whether it's a dinner party, movie night, barbecue or karaoke session, it's a great excuse to get the girls together for some fun.

What can you do?
The best thing about this initiative is that you can have fun with your friends while doing your bit for charity, and we all know how therapeutic it is to (a) spend time with the girls and (b) help others. Here are a few ideas for what you can do on your night in with friends:

  • PJ party — watch your fave chick flick, munch on popcorn and lick ice-cream
  • Theme dream — throw a themed party such as vamps 'n' tramps or superheroes!
  • Rag swap — palm off your unwanted clothes by swapping with your friends!
  • Sing thing — get the karaoke machine out and belt out your best tunes with friends — it doesn't matter if you can't sing in tune, it's still worth a chuckle!
  • Game gala — spend all night playing classic giggly games such as Twister and Pictionary!
  • Smoothie talking — get to hang out with mates while getting creative with fruit and the blender!
  • Sweet treat — have fun with friends making personalised desserts like crepes, chocolate fondue or wickedly chocolatey cheesecake!
  • Sophisti-night — get your best cocktail dresses out and spend an evening in pure class with a fancy dinner party, atmospheric music and candles.
  • Pamper sesh — pamper yourselves with a spa night involving masks, pedis and scrubs.

Last year the Girls Night In campaign succeeded in raising $3.68 million to fund cancer research, create a cancer smart community and provide information and support to people affected by cancer. To host a Girls Night In to raise funds for Cancer Council, register your event now by calling 1300 65 65 85 or visiting www.girlsnightin.com.au for a free host kit.

The cancer stats
There's still so much that we don't know about women's cancer in this country. Here's the lowdown on current cancer facts in Australia:

  • Every year, about 16,000 Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer.
  • Cancer of the uterus is the most common gynaecological cancer.
  • There are more than 12,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed every year.
  • The survival rate for ovarian cancer is only 20 percent.
  • Last year, more than 1400 Australian women died from gynaecological cancers.
  • Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.
  • Thirteen percent of new breast cancer cases are among women aged 20-44 and 61 percent aged 45-69.
  • In the last 20 years, mortality rates have dropped by a third due to screening programs.

Know the signs
For years now, we've known that it's our duty to be vigilant about our health. So follow these tips to spotting the early signs of cancer:

  • Skin cancer — stand in front of a mirror and check for any changes in moles on your skin. Look out for them changing colour, shape or size. Watch out for blotchy or asymmetrical moles too.
  • Breast cancer — look out for a change in the shape or size of your nipple or breast, discharge, rashes, lumps or swelling.
  • Ovarian cancer — symptoms to spot are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating and feeling a frequent need to urinate.
  • Bowel cancer — look out for blood in faeces, unexplained loss of weight or appetite, a lump or swelling in your abdomen or tiredness for no reason.

These symptoms are not necessarily a sign of cancer, but if something concerns you, visit your doctor immediately. Remember, vigilance may save your life.

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