One in eight women in the U.S will develop invasive Breast Cancer over the course of their lifetime. As of January 2018, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S.
Moreover, a woman’s risk of breast cancer doubles if she has a relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
However, what is alarming is that about 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women with no family history of breast cancer. These happen mostly because of genetic mutations as a result of the normal aging process rather than due to inherited mutations.
How can you protect yourself against Breast Cancer?
- Do breast exams on yourself: Familiarize yourself with the look and feel of your breasts. If you notice any bumps or lumps, do not panic, most of the lumps or tumors are usually benign but you should take precautions. Since some breast cancers are not picked up by a mammogram and some breast cancers develop rapidly between mammogram screenings, therefore check your breasts a couple of times in a month and do not miss on mammogram screening appointments.
- Limit your alcohol drinking: Perhaps an occasional drink for the heart may be good but it definitely does not fare well for women who can develop breast cancer. To be safe, limit drinking to three times per week in moderation. According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, alcohol is metabolized differently in a woman’s body as it increases estrogen levels in the blood and thus increases breast cancer risk. Taking folic acid in the form of multivitamins or adding leafy greens, orange juice and beans to your diet may undo some of the damage caused to your body by regular drinking.
- Manage your weight: Research shows the more body weight you have the more your body produces and stores estrogen and estrogen stimulates tumor growth.
- Taking preventative medicines to lower your risk: According to MD Anderson, your physician can calculate your risk of having a breast cancer in the next five years by using a tool called Gail Model which assesses your medical condition through a series of questions about risk factors. If your risk is high you will be eligible to receive preventative drugs, i.e. selective estrogen receptor modulator or aromatase inhibitors to decrease your risk factors for developing breast cancer later on in life.
- Stop smoking: Women who smoked for 10 years or more were at least 16 percent more susceptible to developing breast cancer compared to women who did not smoke. Moreover, long-term exposure to second-hand smoke can also increase your risk for developing breast cancer.
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Health Contributor, eParisExtra.com