We are in the pink month already and it’s the season to create breast cancer awareness, it’s the season to share survival stories and it’s also the perfect season to tell women how they can kick this dreadful disease away for good. So, don’t let that ugly monster define you or change your happily ever after story to a sad pathetic one, here are healthy ways you can help yourself stay safe.
Check to know if you have dense breasts
Breast density is a way to describe the composition of a woman’s breasts. This measure compares the area of breast and connective tissue seen on a mammogram to the area of fat. Breasts and connective tissue are denser than fat and this difference shows up on a mammogram. High breast density means there is a greater amount of breast and connective tissue compared to fat. Low breast density means there is a greater amount of fat compared to breast and connective tissue. High breast density, as seen on a mammogram, is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Women with very dense breasts are four to five times more likely to develop breast cancer than women with low breast density. In the western world, technology is now so advanced that you can check your genes if you are prone to have cancer in future but in Nigeria things are still evolving.
Exercise now seems like a cliché but many studies have found a link between regular exercise and a lower risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. If you’re busy with work, household chores, and family matters, finding time to exercise almost every day can be hard. But you can as well break it to short version, just make sure that your exercises sessions adds up to four hours a week. Regular exercise is one of the best things women can do to keep the risk of a first-time breast cancer or recurrence as low as it can be.
Know your family history
Get your self-acquitted with every little details about cancer in your family, your dad’s history is also included. Experts claims that 5-10 per cent of cancer is inherited from family members. The reason your father also counts now is that men can also carry this gene that is responsible for cancer. Also, multiple diagnoses on either side of your family can be a clue to a hereditary link.
Minimize radiation exposure from screening tests
There are different types of radiation and not all are linked to cancer but exposure to large amounts of radiation early in life, such as radiation treatment to the chest area for childhood cancer, increases the risk of breast cancer. While the radiation during mammography can increase the risk of breast cancer over time, this increase is very small. Studies show the benefits of screening mammography outweigh the risks, especially for women aged 50 and older – The same is true for annual dental x-rays and airport security screening, and if your doctor says you need a diagnostic x-ray for any reason, the risk of minimal radiation exposure is outweighed by the possibility of diagnosing a potential medical problem.
Reduce the use of hormones
If your use of hormones is quite significant, then you need to talk to your doctor about other options or you seek a second opinion from an expert about the therapy. The Women’s Health Initiative found that long-term use of combined estrogen plus progestin therapy increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 24 per cent. However, women with a significantly high risk of breast cancer should avoid taking it if at all possible unless they’ve had their ovaries removed and are going through surgical menopause.
Breastfeeding is both beneficial for mother and child because a woman is not menstruating when breastfeeding , it means her number of cycle is reduced this results to a lowers amount of estrogen to which her body is exposed. There is significant data that suggests that breastfeeding lowers risk of getting breast cancer, so women she at least breast feet consistently for six months.
Harvard researchers recently found that women who had the highest carotenoid levels in their blood had a 19 per cent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels. Carotenoids are found in fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, carrots, and red peppers. Eating right makes your chances of getting cancer lower, women who eat lots of fruits and veggies have a lower risk than women who feed on junks. Reduce your intake of red meat, processed foods, smoking and eat more of whole grains. Avoid alcohol to no more than one drink per day—any more than that increases your breast cancer risk to 1½ times that of someone who doesn’t drink at all.
When breast cancer is caught early, the prognosis is often excellent. The survival rate of cancer found early is about 99 per cent.
- if you have no family history then you get a clinical breast examination every one or two years starting at age 40.
- Be familiar with how your breasts feel normally so that you can report any changes in appearance or texture to your doctor. Also, always notify your physician if you notice any bleeding or crusting on the nipples and if you experience any pain.
Women at higher risk might want to start such screening much earlier and more often, and they might want to consider a screening MRI, as well.
—–additional information from Prevention & Susan G Komen