By Dr Prathista Rao M
Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology
Published on 08/08/2022
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.
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-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!
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%!Get yourself screen NOW!
Frequently asked questions
1. What are the signs or symptoms of breast cancer?
Signs or symptoms of breast cancer are lumps in the breast, swelling or redness in the breast area, deep pain in the area, and flaky skin.
2. How does breast cancer develop?
Breast cancer develops when breast cells (such as those lining the ducts and lobules) begin to grow abnormally. These cells have the potential to grow uncontrollably and infiltrate the surrounding healthy tissues.
3. Which foods are good for breast cancer?
Foods that are good for breast cancer are green leafy vegetables like spinach, berries, citrus fruits, fish, spices, herbs, etc.
4. How fast does breast cancer spread?
Breast cancers double in size depending on numerous factors and sub type.
5. What foods are not good for breast cancer?
Foods that are not good for breast cancer are alcohol, added sugar, fatty foods, red meat, processed foods, etc.
6. Who is most likely to get breast cancer?
The factor that increases the risk of getting breast cancer is age, mostly 50 years aged women or older are at risk. Some women also are at risk due to genetic factors (family history of getting breast cancer).
7. Does breast cancer cause pain in the early stages?
No, usually, there is no pain in the initial stages of breast cancer.
8. Is breast cancer diagnosed in blood tests?
A blood test cannot diagnose breast cancer. It can be done to check a person's overall health before chemotherapy.
9. What effects does breast cancer have on the body?
Breast cancer can also spread to other body parts through the bloodstream. It can cause tumors in your brain, bones, liver, lungs, and other organs. Complications may include blocked blood vessels, bone fractures, and spinal cord pressure.
10. How can breast cancer be detected?
Breast cancers can be diagnosed with the help of Mammograms. A biopsy is also done to detect breast cancer.
11. What is the recovery time for a woman after breast cancer surgery?
Breast cancer surgery recovery time depends on the type of surgery. In the case of Lumpectomy, it takes 5-10 days, and in Mastectomy, it takes 3-4 weeks after surgery.
12. What types of breast pain are signs of cancer?
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new mass or lump (although most breast lumps are not cancer). Breast cancer is most commonly characterized as a painless, hard mass with irregular edges, but it can also be soft, round, tender, or even painful.
13. How to keep breast tissue healthy?
To have good breast health, practice the following tips:
- Maintain ideal body weight
- Do some regular exercise.
- Drink more water and eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Quit smoking and alcohol
- Take vitamin D
14. Does breast cancer lead to weight gain?
Yes, most women with breast cancer experience a gain in weight.
15. What is the most common age to develop breast cancer?
The most common age to develop breast cancer is 45 to 60.
16. What are the other symptoms of breast cancer?
One can feel continuously tired, regular nauseousness (feeling sick), appetite loss, etc when having breast cancer.
17. How many stages are there in breast cancer?
Breast cancer is classified into five stages: stage 0, which is non-invasive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), and stages I through IV (1–4), which are used for invasive breast cancer. The stage provides a common way for doctors to describe cancer so that they can collaborate to plan the best treatments.
18. What are the side effects of breast cancer chemotherapy?
The following could be the side effects: