Breast Cancer: Prevention
1. Quit alcohol
Alcohol does not trigger any particular symptom of breast cancer. It has relationship with the occurrence of breast cancer as a whole. Studies have shown that women who consume alcohol are more prone to developing breast cancer. Women who consume 2–5 drinks everyday are 1½ times more at risk of developing cancer in comparison to women who do not drink.
In order to quitting alcohol you should remove all bottles, cans etc. from your home. You can also join a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous, and if needed you should avoid get-togethers with your friends who force you to drink.
Quitting alcohol will bring a change in your life style and will become a part of your life. It will also protect you from breast cancer as well as other ill effects of alcohol. Quitting alcohol will enable you to lead a healthy life.
2. Quit smoking
Similar to alcohol, smoking does not trigger any particular symptom of breast cancer. It has relationship with the occurrence of breast cancer as a whole. Despite the fact that no direct link has been established between breast cancer and smoking, some researchers propose that the risk of breast cancer is more in women who start smoking at an early age.
In order to quit smoking, you should practice deep breathing exercise. Breathing exercises are yoga techniques and they will enable you to resist the craving for smoke. In the first few days of quitting smoking, you should drink lots of water so that the nicotine is flushed from your body. You should destroy all your cigarettes. After meals, if you get a craving for smoke have a cup of mint tea or a peppermint candy.
You can also ask for support from your family, co-workers and friends to be tolerant if you get edgy or grumpy while quitting smoke. Also, ask the people around you not to smoke in your presence.
3. Indulge in physical activity
Several studies have shown that physical activity decreases the chances of occurrence of several types of cancers including breast cancer. According to study by ‘Women’s Health Initiative Women’, women can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 18% by walking briskly for 1.25 to 2.5 hours every week.
Breast cancer cells’ growth is augmented by the hormone estrogen which is stored in the fatty tissues of the breast. Physical activities allow you to keep your body weight controlled and reduce obesity. Controlling obesity leads to reduction of the fatty tissues of the breast which stores the hormone estrogen which leads to increase in the rate of growth of the cancer cells.
You should engage yourself in physical activities which you enjoy, like yoga, walking, running or cycling. Strive to do these exercises outdoors with friends or family as working with a partner will keep you motivated and on track. Avoid escalators and lifts.
To do the physical exercise you will have to take out time for your daily schedule and if you are planning to join a gym you will have to invest in the fee for the gym
If you are travelling you can climb the stairs or do yoga in your hotel room to compensate the exercises that you do every day.
4. Eat a healthy and low fat diet
The main benefit of having a low fat diet is that it will help you in decreasing obesity and thus reduce the risk of breast cancer. It is well known fact that estrogen hormone leads to development of breast cancer. As fat tissues consist of small amount of estrogen, it might increase the risk of breast cancer.
You can achieve this by formulating a balanced/healthy diet plan for all your meals. Use low fat oil and other foods. Avoid eating outside and stay away from fast food.
You can involve your family in the healthy diet plan and explain to them the benefits of it, so that they are also motivated to eat healthy food.
Eating healthy food will make your life style healthy and it will protect you from breast cancer.
5. If possible you should avoid hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy involves the estrogen and progesterone hormones. These two hormones increase the risk of breast cancer. It takes about 5 years to reduce the risk factor caused by hormone replacement therapy. So, it is necessary for women prone to breast cancer to avoid hormone replacement therapy. Another drawback of hormone replacement therapy is that it makes the mammogram test less effective.
You should discuss with your doctor, if it is necessary to take hormone replacement therapy and you have breast cancer or have a family history of breast cancer. You can also consult your doctor to opt for some alternative non-hormonal therapy. If it is really necessary to get hormone therapy you should opt for lowest dose and use it temporarily.
If you are prone to breast cancer or have breast cancer you should avoid hormone replacement therapy throughout your life.
6. If possible you should have child earlier in your life
Risk of breast cancer increases when women have children while they are in mid thirties. Studies have shown that if women have children at early age, the risk of having breast cancer is decreased. This happens as early pregnancy leads to increase in the quantity of p53 suppressor protein and this protein gives protection against breast cancer.
If you are prone to breast cancer, you should plan your life events in a manner that you have a child earlier in your life.
7. Be aware of your family breast cancer history
It has been proved by several studies that breast cancer can be genetic. A woman who has a personal or family history of breast cancer is more prone to getting breast cancer.
These women should take more precautions and should get their breast test and mammograms done frequently. They should also let their doctor know about their family history of breast cancer.