Breast cancer is a cancer that occurs in the breasts of a woman. There are several risk factors affecting your breast health. Some of these cannot be controlled while others are in your own hands. 

Dr. Sangeeta Gomes, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Sarjapur, Bangalore says, "Breast cancer frequently occurs in women who have no risk factors, but you can help yourself by practicing the following habits all year long for optimum breast health: Screen, observe, and self-examine."

While most lifestyle habits have only a minor impact on the risk of breast cancer, here are some suggestions to keep your breasts and body healthy.

Keep A Healthy Body Weight

After menopause, estrogen production in women's fat tissue is a major factor. Estrogen-sensitive breast cancer tissues in obese women are exposed to more estrogen than estrogen-sensitive breast cancer tissues in women of normal weight. This has the potential to accelerate the growth and progression of breast cancer.

Maintain a BMI of less than 23 for the rest of your life. Obesity and weight gain may increase your risk of breast cancer.

Make Time For Regular Physical Activity

running breast health

Adopt an active way of life. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity five days per week. Exercise can help you maintain your weight while also improving bone mass, which is especially important for breast cancer survivors who have undergone chemotherapy and endocrine therapy. These drugs have been linked to decreased bone mineral density, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

Reduce Or Avoid Alcohol Consumption

alcohol

One of the most well-established dietary risk factors for breast cancer is alcohol. Women who consume more than one alcoholic beverage per day, even two, are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Women who drink three or more drinks per week after being diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to have their cancer recur.

Have A Balanced Diet 

balanced diet breast health

Every day, eat at least five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, cancer-fighting foods include broccoli, cabbage, kale, watermelon, and whole grains. Consume more omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in walnuts, fish, soybeans, and pumpkin seeds. Avoid refined sugars and fats because they are notorious for not only adding weight to your waistline but also increasing your risk of breast cancer.

Take Your Vitamins, Particularly Vitamin D

Women who have low vitamin D levels may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, and breast cancer survivors who have low vitamin D levels may be at a higher risk of disease recurrence. High vitamin D levels have also been linked to better breast cancer survival rates, according to research.

Because the sun is the best source of vitamin D, women who do not get enough sun exposure daily may be vitamin D deficient. However, if you spend a lot of time in the sun, don't forget to apply sunscreen to reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Make Motherhood A Priority

Plan to have your first child before the age of 30. Breastfeeding mothers may have a slightly lower risk of developing breast cancer if they breastfeed their babies for six months or longer.

Prevention Is The Best Form Of Protection

Current recommendations include monthly breast self-examination and:

Women between the ages of 40 and 50 should have a mammogram every year after consulting with their doctor. Mammograms are recommended every two years for women over the age of 50.

Quit Smoking

smoke breast health

If you smoke, you increase your risk of many cancers, including breast cancer, as well as other health problems.

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Keep An Eye Out For These Breast Cancer Warning Signs

Early detection helps to save lives. When breast cancer is detected early, there are more treatment options available, less invasive surgery is required, and the chances of complete recovery are higher.

Warning signs include:

  • Lump in the breast
  • Swelling in a breast or underarm area
  • A nipple or areola rash that persists
  • Blood discharge from the nipple
  • A variation in the size or shape of the breast

Oncogene Testing

Oncogene is mutated/ changed form of a gene involved in normal cell growth. They may cause the growth of cancer cells. Mutations in genes that become oncogenes can be inherited as specific genes runs in family who are prone for breast cancer or caused by being exposed to substances in the environment, that can cause cancer. 

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Genetic testing can be done before or after diagnosis. Predictive or preventive tests are recommended sometimes, for those who have a family history of cancer or have been exposed to a harmful agent that could put them at higher risk, like smoking, UV radiation. 

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Dr. Sangeeta Gomes also says, "Diagnostic tests are recommended for those who have just been diagnosed with cancer that may be treated with targeted therapies or checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies. The tests help the patient and the physician decide which course of treatment will be most effective. Depending on the condition, tests can be performed on tumor samples, blood samples or hair and skin samples. These samples are sent to laboratory, where technicians look for abnormalities in chromosome structure, proteins and/or DNA sequences."

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