Breast Cancer Awareness

breast cancer awareness

The Big C is spreading its tentacles far and wide, and it is no longer a hush hush affair. On the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness months, which is October, doctors in the city are going all out to reiterate on the need for early detection so that the problem can be nipped at the bud.

The incidence of breast cancer cases is on the rise. It is now the most common cancer in women in most cities in India and the second most common in rural areas. Oncologists are of the opinion that the root cause of increased incidence in urban areas is due to changing lifestyle, including stress and change in dietary habits.

Doctors say that there is an increase in the number of cases across all urban areas, which goes on to show that lifestyle modification is definitely one of the main factors. And progressive cities seem to be worse affected because with young working professionals staying away from family there is a possibility that their lifestyle and dietary habits see a drastic change. Along with it, nowadays the young working professionals prefer to first stabilize their career and then opt for marriage, which results in an increasing trend of delayed pregnancies and this is seen as one of the main triggering factors leading to incidence of breast cancer. Apart from lifestyle, even eating habits are changing and people are giving into sedentary lifestyle and all of that together adds up to the trigger factors.

However doctors also reiterate on the point that with advancement in medical sciences now there is scope for early detection and that helps in managing breast cancer much better. It’s a fact that we are seeing a rapid increase in the number of cases especially in the urban areas, but one must know the importance of early diagnosis because with right medical intervention at the right time the cases are almost cured.

Trigger factors:

  • A family history of breast cancer
  • If you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult, you’re more likely to develop breast cancer later in life
  • Being overweight or obese increases your risk of breast cancer because fat tissue produces estrogen that may help fuel certain cancers
  • Women who give birth to their first child after age 35 may have an increased risk of breast cancer
  • Studies have shown that breast cancer risk increases with the amount of alcohol a woman drinks. Alcohol can limit your liver’s ability to control blood levels of the hormone estrogen, which in turn can increase risk
  • Smoking is associated with a slight increase in breast cancer risk
  • Diet is a suspected risk factor for many types of cancer, including breast cancer, as sources of red meat and other animal fats may contain hormones, other growth factors, antibiotics, and pesticides which are known to trigger

Myths

These do not trigger cancer:

  • Antiperspirants
  • Tight fitting under garments
  • Shift work

Symptoms

  • Swelling of all or part of the breast
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast pain
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of skin
  • Discharge other than breast milk
  • A lump in the underarm area

Preventive steps

  • Evidence is growing that exercise can reduce breast cancer risk.  So usual recommendation is to engage in 45-60 minutes of physical exercise for five or more days a week
  • Yoga and Meditation
  • Avoid smoking and regular intake of alcohol
  • Avoid delayed pregnancy
  • Avoid hormone replacement therapy
  • Digital Mammogram – Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. It is generally recommended to have annual mammograms after 40 years of age.
  • Breast self-exam- should be part of your monthly health care routine, and you should visit your doctor if you experience breast changes
  • Clinical Breast Examination- whenever there is a doubt of the manifestation of any one of the symptoms

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