Breast Cancer is the most commonly caused cancer among women. With this concern, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated worldwide in October, to raise awareness on this disease, its research and education. Breast Cancer is a type of cancer in which the breast cells grow out of control. The cancer usually starts from the lobules or breasts ducts (glands that produce milk) to the adjoining tissues and a lump or swelling is felt in the breasts and the area around the nipple changes. The tumor can be detected by self-examination or by an x-ray machine. Early diagnosis, screening and treatment are very important for better prognosis of the disease, to prevent cancer spread in surrounding and preventing complications of the disease and its treatment
Majority of the risk factors associated with breast cancer are related with lifestyle which include lack of physical activity, obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, consumption of processed foods, etc. Consumption of oral contraceptives is also another most common reason for breast cancer. Breast cancer risk also increases with increasing age in women especially after menopause. Genetics is also another major cause and women with family history should be aware about it.
Women who find a lump in their breast on examination along with few other symptoms like pain in breasts and nipples a change in size and shape of breasts, soreness, redness, inflammation in breasts and nipple, discharge through nipples which is usually blood, etc are also noticed in later stages.
Prevention of breast cancer is not completely in one’s hand but at least a healthy life style can protect one from it. Some of the ways you can prevent breast cancer are:-
Women need to focus on themselves and well-being more. A dedicated regime for at least 30 minutes a day which could include running, jogging, cardio, aerobics etc. A brisk walk daily also reduces the risk of breast cancer.
Along with a worry for a host of other diseases, being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer. Obesity and pre and post-menopausal weight gain are common causes for overall health concern in women.
Birth Control Pills:
They are used by women as oral contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But the usage of these pills has been linked to breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart diseases and strokes in women.
Both these activities together are responsible for 15 types of cancer, including that of the breast. They also lead to aging, wrinkles, rotting teeth and bleeding gums etc. Both these habits if present need to be strictly moderated.
Eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis reduces the risk of breast cancer. A healthy and balanced diet keeps us physically and mentally fit and combats us against many diseases.
Breastfeeding is beneficial and combats diseases and increases immunity for the infant is well known, but it also is beneficial for the mothers and protects them and lowers their risk of breast cancer. Early menarche, late pregnancy or no pregnancies, early menopause, stress along with unhealthy lifestyle is also linked with breast cancer and thus should be taken care of.
Early Detection and Its Importance
Early detection of breast cancer is very important to prevent complications of worsening the disease and to obtain a better prognosis. Women who are usually reluctant to share the changes in breast, breast pain, and lump detection are usually diagnosed later with breast cancer late with a worse prognosis. Thus it is very important for women to check their breasts and in case of any palpable lump, get it checked. Especially in case of a family history of cancer, it is advisable to find out and go for regular checkups annually so as to protect yourself. Breast Cancer screenings for women above 40 years of age with the help of mammogram helps in early detection of cancer and ensures proper and timely treatment for the same. Women who had early menses, late child births and menopausal women, having big breasts or a history of cancer should go for regular screenings.
Diet for cancer prevention and treatment
A diet consisting of whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables provide the right amount of fiber, nutrients, antioxidants and polyphenols which helps in reducing the chances of breast cancer. Dietary fats such as hydrogenated oils, full fat dairy, butter etc should be replaced by healthy fats such as seeds, nuts, vegetable oil etc. Bone health is very important and diet consisting of Vitamin D such as soya, fish and dairy products has many health benefits. Consumption of sugar in the form of sweets, processed and canned food items should be restricted as they just add to empty calories and lead to weight gain and obesity. Women should also take measures prevent weight gain after menopause. Diet and exercise is the key to overall fitness.
Breast Cancer Myths:
A lump in the breast always means that you have breast cancer.
Many females may feel small lump in their breast even at a younger age. These always need not mean its breast cancer. These are usually due to hormonal imbalances, hormonal changes, PCOS and obesity. Most females do not even notice these lumps. These are usually not cancerous but if painful women should undergo sono-mammography and get your reports clear.
A mammogram or x-ray can cause breast cancer to spread.
They do not spread cancer. In fact they are the gold standards for early detection of breast cancer. They benefits of early detection outweigh the potential harm done by radiation.
Only women are affected with breast cancer.
Men are also prone to breast cancer even though the prevalence is less compared to women. Any changes in under the nipple area in men should be reported to the doctor.
Breast cancer is contagious.
Breast cancer cannot spread with contact. You cannot catch or transfer breast cancer through any kind of contact with any one. Breast cancer is basically cell mutations which start from within. Also only 5 to 10% suffering from breast cancer have family history of it.
Using of antiperspirants, deodorants or wearing of bras can cause breast cancer.
There is no scientific research proving this true. Also there is no correlation with wearing or not wearing bra with getting breast cancer.
Now you know about it, pass it on and help every female to be aware about the disease and stay protected. Breast Cancer is treatable and curable when detected at the right time with timely screening, treatment and regular checkups. Check your breasts today and keep checking. Follow a healthy lifestyle and minimize your risk factors to get cancer.