Benefits of including mushrooms in your diet.

Research around the cancer fighting potential of mushrooms is indicating that mushrooms could be one of our most powerful allies in the fight against breast cancer.

The humble vegetable is also versatile, as the following recipes attest.

One of the key findings of studies conducted at the Beckman Institute at the City of Hope Cancer Centre in California and at the University of Australia in Sydney in collaboration with Zhejiang University in China, is that women who eat an average of 10g of mushrooms a day, seem to halve their risk of breast cancer.

It is for this reason that the Reach for Recovery's Ditto Project, supported annually by the South African Mushroom Farmers' Association (SAMFA), Pick n Pay and Thermopac - dubbed Power of Pink campaign - was launched.

Association chairman Ross Richardson said: "Most people don't realise how many women are living without breasts after a mastectomy; what's even worse is that they don't even know it's an issue. That's why we are proud to announce that we are running the campaign again in October with the sole purpose of raising funds for the Reach for Recovery Ditto project to purchase silicone prostheses for breast cancer survivors without financial means. So look out for our trademark (and very pretty) pink mushroom punnets on shelf in Pick n Pay for the entire month of October. R1 from each punnet of whole and sliced white button mushrooms purchased, goes to Reach for Recovery."

Silicone breast prostheses from Reach for Recovery cost between R950 and R2000 and substantially more in the open market. However, those in need who are state hospital patients, have had a mastectomy and have a hospital registration card, qualify for a mere R80 donation to cover administrative costs.

"Thousands of rands are dedicated annually to breast cancer research and we applaud that, but that money does not assist survivors in the way this campaign does."