Breast cancer, aside from skin cancer and lung cancer, is the most diagnosed cancer in women, especially in the US. Research carried out by the American Cancer Society Postulates that swelling1 in 8 women are prone to be affected by this disease. Though cancer is a deadly disease, only fewer women are currently getting affected and dying from it compared with statistics from recent years.
According to Margaret I. Cuomo, MD author of a world without cancer, “Women have much more power over the disease than they think. It is not an inevitability”. All the activities we carry out from the moment we get up from the bed – including the foods we consume, whether or not we carry out exercises, and avoiding harmful chemicals that triggers certain genetic interaction in our body, both the ones that lead to cancer. The risk of getting affected by most cancer, even breast cancer, can be reduced drastically by living a healthy lifestyle.
Today, being born a female is even said to be the biggest risk of breast cancer. But various measures can help reduce your chances of developing breast cancer when adhered to. Before we look at those measures, let’s have a clue about what breast cancer entails and what causes it.
What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common disease in women in which there’s an abnormal growth of cells in the breast. This disease occurs in both men and women but is common in women. Breast cancer can start in various parts of the breast. As we all know, the breast comprises three main parts, namely;
- The ducts
- Connective tissues
The lobules are responsible for milk production while the ducts take the milk to the nipple. On the other hand, the connective tissues surround and hold all parts together.
However, most breast cancers start in the ducts or lobules and can also spread outside the breast via the blood vessels and lymph vessels.
What Are The Common Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Women?
Having good knowledge of the normal nature of your breast and how it feels is an essential part of your breast’s health. Although regular screening tests for breast cancer are recommended, they’re some types of breast cancers that cannot be detected with the use of mammograms.
Different people exhibit different disease symptoms, while some don’t show any signs or symptoms at all. However, some basic warning signs of breast cancer include;
- Growth of a new lump in your breast or your underarm.
- Irritation of the breast’s skin.
- Swelling of some parts of the breast.
- Redness or flaky skin at the nipple area of the breast.
- Abnormal nipple discharge (not milk).
- Pain in the nipple region.
- An abnormal change in size or shape of the breast.
- Pain in most areas of the breast.
- Aside from cancer, these symptoms can also happen with other health conditions. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, do well to visit your doctor immediately. Breast cancer can be treated in its developing phase with surgery.
What Are The Causes of Breast Cancer?
The major cause of breast cancer remains unclear, but many risk factors exist. These include;
- Genetics – Some breast cancers are related to inherited mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 tumour suppressor genes in the system.
- Age – You become more at risk at the age of 40.
- Lifestyle – your lifestyle choices, including excessive alcohol consumption.
- Environmental Factors – like being exposed to radiation of any form.
- Hormonal changes
- Personal history of the disease – if you’ve had breast cancer in the past, there’s an increased risk of having breast cancer in the other breast.
- Menarche – experiencing early periods and late menopause.
- Having your first baby at an older age
- Not being pregnant before.
HOW CAN I PREVENT BREAST CANCER?
Various cancer treatments keep improving these days, and we even know various ways to prevent the disease. Below are some steps to living a breast-cancer free life today
Request For and Have regular Breast Cancer screenings
When breast cancer is detected early, its prognosis is always excellent. Try to discuss when to start breast screening exams and tests like mammograms and clinical breast exams with your doctor. Ask more questions about the benefits and risks attached to these screenings, and some screening tests may pose dangers to your health in the long run. After proper consultation, your doctor will determine which breast cancer screening strategy will be perfect for you.
Carry out Frequent Breast self-examination For Breast Awareness
In the early stages of breast cancer, some notable symptoms include lumps in the breast. Carrying out a breast self-exam for breast awareness helps you become more familiar with your breast. Through this self-exam, they may notice lumps or even some unusual signs in the breast. When noticed, seek the doctor’s attention immediately.
Limit Your Intake of Alcohol – Quit if possible
While moderate alcohol consumption isn’t good for the heart and your physical and mental well-being, it can also increase the risk of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, women who drink about 2-5 bottles of alcohol daily are about one and a half times higher the risk of breast cancer when compared to women who don’t consume alcohol at all. If you can’t quit, you should consume no more than one alcoholic drink per day. That’s a total of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. However, quitting alcohol consumption is the best choice to take.
Burn Those Fats and keep your body active with exercise
Exercise stands as an activity with an all-around advantage. It’s more like using a single stone to kill multiple birds as it helps in boosting the brain’s functionality and prevents heart diseases and cancer, amongst others. It helps in protecting the body against breast cancer in many ways;
- It helps in controlling the overall body weight
- Exercise also alters estrogen metabolism.
When we talk about exercise here, we aren’t referring to muscle-boosting training or training to be muscular like hulk. By just taking a brisk walk, you’re certainly good to go. Studies carried out by the Women’s Health Initiative found that women who exercise for 1hour, 25 minutes to 2.5 hours, have an 18% less risk of breast cancer than those who were inactive.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Research shows that women who consume a Mediterranean diet supplemented with virgin oil and mixed nuts tend to reduce breast cancer risk. Mediterranean diet comprises mainly of plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, amongst others with fish. Those who adhere strictly to a Mediterranean diet choose healthy oil instead of butter and fish in place of meats.
During pregnancy, several months without a period and breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer in women. This proves the studies that show that late menstruation and early menopause reduce the risk of breast cancer. This effect is due to the reduction in estrogen exposure her body passes through.
Currently, only fewer women are getting diagnosed with breast cancer. As advised, stay vigilant about breast cancer detection. If you notice any changes in your breast, like a lump or something, consult your doctor immediately and take no chances. Ask your doctor about the perfect time to start mammograms and other breast cancer screenings based on your personal and family history.