Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What Lifestyle Changes Can Help With Breast Cancer Prevention?

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is an annual breast cancer awareness campaign organized by the world’s leading breast cancer charities in October (October 1st through October 31st). This month, philanthropists from around the world come together to raise funds for research, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of breast cancer. The campaign also helps those who already have the disease.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, affecting 2.1 million women each year. It is also responsible for most of the cancer-related deaths in women. So the important question is, “Can breast cancer be prevented? If yes how? “

Let’s try to answer these questions by looking at lifestyle changes that could lower the risk of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What Lifestyle Changes Can Help With Breast Cancer Prevention?

Exercise regularly

This is a no-brainer; The best way to stay healthy is to exercise regularly. Adults should allow themselves up to 300 minutes of moderate and 150 minutes of intense exercise each week. While it’s not obvious how much physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer, there is growing evidence that regular exercise can lower the risk of developing breast cancer by 10 to 20%

Manage weight and diet

There is a complex relationship between a person’s weight and the risk of developing breast cancer. Before a woman reaches menopause, most of her need for estrogen is met by the ovaries, but after menopause the ovaries stop producing estrogen and therefore estrogen is produced from adipose tissue to compensate. Therefore, being overweight after menopause can increase the chances of developing breast cancer. Obesity can increase the risk of developing a variety of other cancers, including the colon, endometrium, esophagus, pancreas, and kidney. If a person has previously had cancer and then becomes obese, the chances of it recurring also increase.

Eating healthy goes a long way towards maintaining the right weight. We need to try to include a wide variety of foods in our diet, including fruits, leafy green vegetables, and foods high in calcium, antioxidants, and vitamin D. It has also been found that consuming excessive amounts of red meat or consuming red meat regularly can also trigger the onset of cancer.

Avoid the consumption of alcohol and tobacco

Alcohol and tobacco use are directly linked to breast cancer. It has been found that consuming 1 drink a day increases the risk of breast cancer by 7% to 10%, and consuming 2 to 3 drinks a day increases the risk to 20%. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Smoking regularly can also lead to breast cancer. One must try to avoid both alcohol and smoking altogether, and if this is not possible then these things should only be consumed in very small amounts on specific occasions.

Having kids at the right time

Women who become pregnant under 30 and give birth on the due date have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Women over the age of 30 who have no children or have their first child after the age of 30 are at increased risk of breast cancer. Many independent researchers have confirmed that early pregnancy or many pregnancies can lower the risk of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What Lifestyle Changes Can Help With Breast Cancer Prevention?

Breastfeeding

A study by the Human Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer Working Group found that the chances of developing breast cancer decreased by 4.3% for every year a woman was breastfeeding. Another study conducted by Australian researchers found that women who breastfed for 13 months or more were 63% less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who breastfed less than 7 months.

Family planning and birth control

Women should be careful before choosing their birth control method because some birth control pills contain hormones that can increase the risk of breast cancer. Using OCP (Oral Contraceptive Pill) after age 30 and for less than 5 years may not increase the risk of breast cancer, but continued use below this age may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Exposure to carcinogens

Certain cancer-causing chemicals can increase the risk of breast cancer in women, especially women who work in the packaging and construction industries. These chemicals can disrupt the functioning of the endocrine gland and lead to the development of breast cancer. While not all of these situations can be avoided, there are certain situations that can be handled better. For example, wearing N95 masks around the factory and carefully choosing cosmetic products can help reduce the risk of breast cancer.

In this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let’s talk about the topic of breast cancer and stop this menacing disease from ruining so many women’s lives!

Written by dr. Sarjana Dutt, Director of Molecular Biology and Cytogenetics, Oncquest Laboratories Ltd.

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