Breast cancer is one of the diseases that are feared most by women. However, the encouraging fact is that the sooner breast cancer is detected, the better the prognosis. According to The National Cancer Institute, if breast cancer is caught in stage one, the five-year survival rate is 100 percent. Needless to say, regular checks and screenings are extremely important.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 15 and 54. Every woman is at risk but the older you get, the more vulnerable you are. Approximately 70 percent of women with breast cancer are over 50. Studies have shown that one in eight women or 12.6% of all women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. Imagine that in every 13 minutes a woman dies of breast cancer.
The first sign of breast cancer normally shows up on a woman’s mammogram before a lump can be felt or any other symptoms are present. The exact causes of breast cancer are unknown but the most common types begin either in the milk ducts (ductal carcinoma) or in the milk-producing glands (lobular carcinoma). Risks for breast cancer include age (breast cancer risk increases with age), family history, early onset of menstruation and late menopause, delaying pregnancy until after the age of 30, atypical hyperplasia, use of birth control pills and a excessive alcohol intake.
Although there is no guaranteed protection against the disease, there are things you can do to lower your risk. Here are 10 ways to ward off breast cancer:
1. Touch your boobies regularly to check for lumps or unusual changes in the breasts. The best time to do self-exam your boobies is a week after the start of your period. During this time, your breasts are less likely to be swollen or tender. Over 80 percent of breast lumps are not cancerous, but benign such as fibrocystic breast disease. Early detection is your best bet for survival.
2. Schedule an annual mammogram especially after you hit 40. Most doctors would advice getting a mammogram once you turn 20. You are never too young to develop breast cancer and studies have shown that 96 percent of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer free after five years.
3. Maintain a health weight. There is a strong connection between obesity and breast cancer, especially if you gain more weight after menopause.
4. Limit or avoid drinking alcohol. Regular alcohol consumption is linked to breast cancer, hence it is advisable to limit or if possible to avoid alcohol altogether.
5. Eat healthy. Consume at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber daily as it helps to reduce the amount of circulating estrogen in the body. Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. These vegetables can boost the cancer fighting enzymes.
6. Eat good fats. Not all fats are bad. Opt for monounsaturated oils like olive and canola and omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, sardines and herrings.
7. Keep an active lifestyle. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Vary your exercise routine so that you do not get bored easily. Try to include weight-beating exercises such as walking, jogging, dancing and even swimming to help keep your bones strong.
8. Breastfeed if possible. Numerous studies have shown that breastfeeding may decrease the risk of breast cancer later in life.
9. Enjoy Soy. Use soy flour in recipes, add tofu to soups or main dishes, eat green soybeans, or drink soy milk. Isoflavones in soy foods are weak estrogen-like compounds that block the action of estrogen, which may contribute to breast cancer.
10. Avoid additives. Whenever possible, buy hormone-free organic meats, poultry, and dairy foods. Be sure to wash fresh produce and remove peels to get rid of pesticide residue.