Breast cancer represents the second cause of death caused by cancer in women, after lung cancer. Breast cancer can be successfully treated if it’s discovered in the early stages.
Each woman should also know the steps to take to prevent breast cancer, especially if she is open to certain risk factors such as family history, undergoing hormone therapy, previous treatment with radiation therapy or starting menopause after the age of 55.
Here are some easy to adopt lifestyle changes that can decrease your chances of developing breast cancer.
- Cut down on alcohol
Although it might hurt your social life, you have to limit the alcohol consumption. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol has been linked to numerous diseases such as cancer and liver problems. It is ok to drink a glass of wine at lunch or a beer every other day, but not drinking alcohol the entire week and then consuming seven glasses at once is not okay.
Exercise can prevent many diseases, not only breast cancer. Regular exercise helps control weight, another risk factor for breast cancer. Women who gained up to 30 pounds through the age 18 are more likely to develop this type of cancer compared to women who managed to maintain their weight. In post-menopause women, the fat tissue produces the estrogen in the body, which can stimulate the growth of cancer cells. This means that the more fat tissue you have, the higher the estrogen level will be.
Smoking does not only cause lung cancer but also breast cancer. Studies showed that women who smoke regularly are 40% more likely to develop breast cancer. Smoking makes the human body prone to different illnesses.
- Be Vigilant
One of the best things you can do is stay alert and observe any symptom, no matter how small. Check your breasts for any noticeable changes and perform annual breast exams such as Diagnostic mammogram or Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). If you notice any discoloration of the skin or lumps, go and see your doctor as soon as possible. Check your breasts every week and when you go to your doctor write down all the questions you want to ask.
- Family History
It’s really important to know if you have a history of breast cancer in your family. About 10% of the breast cancer cases are hereditary. Look into your family’s history and write down any diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer or mental illness.
Dense breasts have less fatty tissue and more connective tissue. This is why, sometimes, it can be hard to see tumors on a mammogram. Also, women with dense breasts are more likely to develop breast cancer. You can discover the density of your breasts by getting checked at your local hospital.
Women are now more in control of their bodies and technology also makes it easier to detect breast cancer in its early stages and treat it successfully. But prevention is better than cure, so adopting a healthy lifestyle and always being attentive to any symptoms can improve the quality of life.