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By Dr Prathista Rao M
Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology
Published on 08/08/2022
One in eight women can develop breast cancer.
Don't worry, be the warrior!

One of the worst diseases that affect women is breast cancer!

By taking effective precautions, it is possible to prevent the disease from occurring and thereby control it. So, what are the preventive actions that women can take to lower their risk of breast cancer? But first, let's talk about breast cancer!

Breast cancer develops when cells grow abnormally in the breast and divide uncontrollably, forming a lump of tissue known as a tumour. This cancer in women is one of the most life-threatening cancers in the world.

Although it is difficult to prevent breast cancer, keeping a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, performing regular self-breast checks, and receiving an annual breast screening can considerably minimise the risk of developing the condition.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include

Here is the list of signs that indicate breast cancer:

  • A lump or thickening in the breast distinct from the surrounding tissues.
  • Breast size, shape, or appearance changes.
  • Dimpling in the skin over the breast.
  • The pigmented region of skin surrounding the areola or breast skin is peeling, scaling, crusting, or flaking.
  • Redness or pitting of the skin around the breast is similar to orange skin.

Now the question is- “Can the risk of breast cancer be lowered?”

If you are worried about getting breast cancer, you might be wondering if there are any precautions you can take to help avoid it. Some risk factors, such as family history, are unavoidable. However, some lifestyle changes can be undertaken to reduce the risk factors.

Lifestyle choices to lower cancer risk!

Let's understand what can be done to reduce breast cancer risk. Here are some points, if followed, that can minimize the chances of cancer and make way for good health.

Limit alcohol intake:

Even small amounts of alcohol are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer among females. Drinking alcohol can raise estrogen levels, which can be harmful to the body. Avoiding or limiting alcohol intake may be an effective way for many women to reduce their risk of breast cancer.

Stop smoking:

Cigarette smoke is a source of toxins, including carcinogenic chemicals. Women who smoke or are in the habit of smoking are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who do not smoke or have never smoked.

Smoking causes many illnesses and is associated with a greater risk of breast cancer among young pre-menopausal women. According to research both heavy second-hand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women are linked with eachother.

Maintain a healthy weight:

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most effective ways to lower the risk of breast cancer. It is preferable to limit the number of calories you take each day. Eat healthily and gradually increase your physical exercises.

Be physically active:

Physical activity can help to maintain a healthy weight, which can help to avoid breast cancer. Healthy people should aim to perform a moderate aerobic activity or strenuous aerobic activity per week, with strength training at least twice a week.

Breast-feed:

Breast-feeding may help to avoid breast cancer. The longer women breastfeed, the more protective it is to avoid diseases.

Postmenopausal hormone therapy should be limited:

Combination hormonal therapy may raise the risk of developing breast cancer. Discuss the risks and benefits of hormonal therapy with the doctor. Non-hormonal therapy and medications may be able to help you control the symptoms.

Can a healthy diet prevent breast cancer?

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the key factors in breast cancer prevention!

A balanced diet may reduce the possibility of certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Foods that can reduce the probability of breast cancer are:

  • Soy products: Soy milk, tofu, soy yoghurt, etc.
  • Vegetables: Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, etc.
  • Fruits: Plums, berries, apples, peaches, pears, etc.
  • Dietary Fibre: Whole grains, wheat bran, nuts, oats, etc.
  • Good fats: Nuts, seeds, olive oil, Omega 3, etc.

Do you know?

When breast cancer is diagnosed early and treated before it spreads, then the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 99%!

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