Prevention is better than cure

Spreading awareness

October is Breast Cancer awareness month. Dr Vikas Goswami, senior consultant oncologist at Fortis Hospital says that the survival rate of breast cancer patient is as high as 98 per cent but only if detected at an early stage. In India alone, over 1,50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year – a shocking number that has overtaken cervical cancer to become the most common cancer affecting women in India.

Breast cells sometimes become abnormal in nature and these abnormal cells multiply and grow creating new cells. These cells which are malignant in nature can lead to serious health problems and may even be able to cause death.
Goswami suggests methods to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

 Exercise: Being active reduces a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Take time out to exercise as it reduces the number of fat cells, which are responsible for the release of hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone. This can reduce breast cancer risk by at least 20 per cent.

 Breastfeeding is very important: Women who breastfeed their babies for about a year or so cut downs the risk of developing breast cancer by at least five per cent than those who don’t breastfeed at all. It is an analysis of cancer statistics by the World Cancer Research Fund found. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower her chances of getting the disease.

 Reduce alcohol intake: Regularly drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing breast cancer and the more drinks you have each day, the greater your risk
will be.

 Avoid heating your food in plastics: Do not use canned food and drinks and avoid reheating the food in microwave especially food stored in plastic containers as they contain chemicals that behave like oestrogens, increasing breast cancer risk.

 Vitamin D is important for women: Natural sunlight is the best way of increasing stores of vitamin D, which can lower your risk of breast cancer. A Canadian study says that breast cells can convert vitamin D to a hormone that has anti-cancer properties. But that doesn’t mean that you sit whole day in sun as you then might expose yourself to skin cancer. However doing this in a limit is fine.
Fight cancer, stay fit.

What causes breast cancer?

Sometimes there are hereditary cases where there is a family history of breast cancer.
Women above 50 years of age are mostly at the risk, so your age could also be a factor.
Ladies in their premenopausal stage who administer contraception pills are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Exposure to radiation or chemicals also leads to cancer.

Symptoms of breast cancer

A lump in the breast – the first most common sign Changes in breast shape or size
Skin changes – breast skin may become dimpled or puckered.
Nipple changes – Normal nipples that suddenly become inverted

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