Like any other cancer,breast cancer is a very complex disease and there is no sure way to protect yourself.According to research done,one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and nearly 40,000 women and most recently a few men die of the disease every year.Breast cancer is related to an excess of estrogen in the body.It is also somewhat of a lifestyle disease, what we eat,drink or even think can be a contributing factor.When physical and emotional toxins fail to be eliminated from the body,they build up and can cause DNA mutations and finally cancer.There are risk factors under your control which you can change to tip the odds in your favor.Here are top tips to help you prevent breast cancer.
1.Be self aware of your body
More that 80% of all breast tumors are detected by women themselves.As a woman you should keep an eye on changes to your breast.Be familiar with your breast so that you know when any lumps develop.Notify your physician is there is any pain, bleeding or hardening of the nipples.When breast cancer is diagnosed early,survival rate is pretty high.Know that not all lumps are cancerous growths.
2.Watch your weight closely
Being overweight or obese especially after menopause raises the risk of breast cancer in women significantly.Reason being before menopause,a woman’s estrogen is produced by her ovaries but after menopause,fatty tissue takes over.So more fatty tissue means more estrogen.Estrogen is responsible for cell overgrowth hence cancer.Avoid gaining body weight over time and strive to keep your Basal Metabolic Index (BMI) under 25.In pursuit of the right body weight,embrace a diet of vegetables and fruits and minimize intake of sugared drinks,fatty foods and processed carbohydrates.To a lot of exercising.Eat white meat such as chicken and fish and very small portions of red meat.Prepare your foods with vegetable oils and not animal oils.
3.Find out your family’s cancer history
About 10% of all breast cancer cases are hereditary.This means that they are passed on from one generation to the next.The culprit mutant gene is known as the BRCA gene.Study shows that 1 in 5 women with this gene go on to develop breast cancer.It is also responsible for ovarian and pancreatic cancers.Look up the medical history of not only your first degree relatives but second and third degree relatives.Your father’s family history is as important as your mother’s.If you find anything that worries you,seek help from a genetics expert.If one of your relatives had the disease it does not automatically mean that you will get it too.
4. Minimize radiation exposure
I know,it is ironic.Mammograms are the standard test in breast cancer screening and yet,ionizing radiation which is used in these screening tests is a risk factor.This is because ionizing radiation causes DNA mutations in cells.It does not however mean that you cancel all future mammograms.They deliver very small doses which are non lethal.Women who have had radiation therapy in the chest area and at a young age are likely to develop breast cancer.Therefore if your doctor tells you you need a chest X-ray done,make sure it is absolutely necessary.
5.Limit dose and duration of hormonal therapy
Long term use of combined estrogen and progestin therapy such as the one found in oral contraceptive pills increases risk of breast cancer.If you are using hormonal therapy for post menopausal symptoms,consult your doctor for the most appropriate dose.You could consider other options such as exercising to control the symptoms.
Other tips include
-Minimizing alcohol intake because alcohol is a carcinogen.
-Breast feed your baby.Women do not menstruate while breast feeding.This reduces the amount of estrogen your body is exposed to during every cycle.
-Relax and have enough sleep
Truth is,there is still much to be learnt about breast cancer.But if you follow these tips,you will surely reduce chances of developing breast cancer significantly!