Millions of women are dying of breast cancer all over the world and the numbers are only increasing with each passing year. There are several causes and risk factors that lead to breast cancer. Few risk factors like age, gender, gene mutations cannot be altered and are thus beyond our control. But, of late lifestyle habits are putting many women at risk.
The best way of dealing with breast cancer is to prevent it. We can, to a larger extent, protect ourselves by adopting a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits and also by being aware of the disease in terms of risk factors and symptoms. Early detection of breast cancer is paramount in tackling this disease. Check out how to lower your breast cancer risk. Look at ways to cut your risk of breast cancer.
Fresh fruits and vegetables help in the reconstruction of cells, improving resistance. Fruits like strawberries and pomegranates and many other colorful fruits are filled with powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants destroy cell damaging free radicals and thus help in preventing cancer. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and cauliflower find particular mention as they offer multiple compounds that aid hormone balance and keep cancer at bay. Include tomatoes, spinach, carrots and garlic in your daily diet.
Compounds present in stone fruits like peaches, plums and nectarines are said to be capable of killing aggressive breast cancer cells without harming the normal cells. Peach and plum polyphenols are found to possess chemo-preventive potential. Coffee lovers cheer up! It contains high level of antioxidants that are known to battle cancer.
Avoid processed food, sugars and carbonated drinks. Go easy on sugar consumption as it is known to fuel inflammation and tumor growth. Keep yourself hydrated with plain water. Healthy and nutritious food will optimize your immunity levels which in turn will guard your body against breast cancer.
Watch your weight
Overweight women are almost eight to ten times more likely to develop breast cancer than women of healthy weight. Estrogen and progesterone are the two important female hormones that are linked to the breast cancer. In obese women fat tissues produce more estrogen and insulin that encourages the growth of cancer cells.
Exercise and lead an active life
Exercise is, by far, the best method to remain shielded from breast cancer. American Cancer Society suggests that all women should, at least, take up 150 minutes of physical activity a week to lower the risk of breast cancer. You can take up about 75 minutes of cardio activity and include strength training exercises at least twice a week. Exercise helps in reducing the fat tissue in the body and in turn controls the excess production of estrogens and progesterone hormones in the body. Embark on a gradual sustainable fitness program.
Breastfeed your baby
Research shows that breastfeeding the baby protects the mother against developing breast cancer in future. The level of estrogen and progesterone hormones drops down drastically during breastfeeding, and we all know that these hormones are linked to the breast tumors. Thus breast feeding, naturally lowers the breast cancer risk.
Extensive research has been conducted to prove the connection between alcohol consumption and increased breast cancer risk. The female body absorbs lesser alcohol than men and it also produces less of a particular enzyme required to break down alcohol. Thus most of the alcohol consumed is concentrated in higher levels in the blood. Alcohol affects the hormonal balance.
Go easy on hormone replacement Therapy (HRT)
Those women who undergo HRT to relieve themselves of menopausal symptoms should reconsider it as Hormone Replacement Therapy is known to increase the risk of breast cancer. Discuss with your doctor about the pros and cons of taking the treatment and try to keep it to lower doses and for shorter duration.
Beat uncontrolled stress
Finally, an optimistic outlook towards life and reducing stress levels will strengthen your body's ability to keep the life-threatening diseases like breast cancer at bay. Studies have indicated that severe stress causes poor functioning of the immune system. Higher levels of stress hormones lead to rapid cancer progression.
Radiation is now part of our everyday life in the form of cellular phones, microwaves and wireless electronics. This can mutate DNA and increase inflammation. Go in for CT scans only when absolutely necessary. Try to stay away from pesticides and environmental toxins like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in vehicle exhaust and air pollution. Estrogen-mimicking compounds are carcinogenic.
Despite precautions taken, certain risk factors like genetic defects called mutations are beyond our control and we may end up with breast cancer. Hence it is very essential that women above 40 must go for regular screening. Self Breast Examination must be done on a regular basis. Discuss with your gynecologist on the need for mammogram. Early detection and treatment is the key to battling breast cancer.