If there is one topic that needs to be acknowledged frequently, it’s breast cancer prevention. While it is unlikely in women younger than 40, there is still a chance that you could have it. Survival rates have improved over the last 20 years thanks to research, early detection and awareness but you know what they say, prevention is always better than cure. Fortunately, there are a few ways to change your lifestyle for the better to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
A healthy diet can go a long way in preventing most illnesses and disorders. Ensuring that your body gets the nutrition it needs such as Omega 3, Biotin, and CoQ10 will help give you that extra boost, improve your blood pressure and protect your heart. Omega 3 is especially helpful in reducing your risk of breast cancer because it has been shown to reduce cancerous tumours. For all the latest information and reviews on health supplements, check out Reviewy.
The Family Tree
While breast cancer is not always hereditary, it is a good idea that you check if there is any history of cancer on both your mother’s and father’s side of the family. In some cases you won’t be at risk, however, if you happen to be gene carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 (Breast Cancer 1 and Breast Cancer 2), your risk may be higher. If your family shows previous cases of hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer or pancreatic cancer, it may be in your best interest to get a BRCA test done by your doctor. Early detection can help save your life and increase your survival rate.
An important step in prevention is to perform a self-check exam monthly. This exam should be done in the shower, in front of a mirror and while lying down. First start off in the shower, move the pads of your finger in a circular motion around the outer sides of breasts moving inwards towards the nipple. Make sure you check the entire breast as well as the armpit area. Next, stand in front of a mirror to check if there are any physical changes in the breasts such as dimpling, swelling, or changes in the nipple by placing the palms of your hands on your hips and flexing your chest muscles. After that, lie down on the bed with a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. With the other hand, move your fingers in a circular motion as you have done in the shower and check for any lumps. Don’t forget the armpit area or the nipple. If you suspect a lump, it’s important not to panic, it may be a benign breast lump which has occurred due to your menstrual cycle or hormones, however, it is still important to get the lump evaluated by your healthcare provider.
Get moving. Eating healthy may be the first step but it is crucial to include exercise into your daily routine. A common risk factor for breast cancer is higher oestrogen levels. Exercise such as cycling or walking can help decrease this hormone level by breaking it down into a safer component. It also helps to maintain a healthy body weight. Obese and overweight women are more likely to develop breast cancer. Get your heart pumping with a daily walk around the block or by spending an hour at the gym.
Avoid Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol has been shown to increase oestrogen levels and as we mentioned before, this is a common risk factor for breast cancer. Enjoying the occasional drink every now and then is ok, but if you drink frequently during the week in social situations or with a good meal, try to limit it to once or twice a week instead. A great option when you are out with your friends is to drink mocktails, they have all the ingredients of a regular cocktail without the alcohol.
This is the most obvious prevention method, however, it is much easier said than done. Not only does smoking pose a risk of cancer but it also causes numerous health conditions. There are many effective methods out there to help you quit and there are also a few free cessation programs which provide counselling from trained professionals. If you’re not successful in going cold turkey, you can speak to your doctor about medications and patches available on the market. Make sure you always consult a doctor first before taking any medication as they may come with extreme side effects depending on your medical history.