Wednesday, February 28, 2024

How to reduce the risk of breast cancer

October which is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month reminds our pledge to boost awareness about breast cancer. Every year, the deadly cancer affects thousands of women in Bangladesh. Many of the deaths from this cancer could be prevented through adopting useful measures like self examination of breast, regular and periodic screening, early diagnosis and treatment.
Experts recommend that certain simple measures like maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, taking a low-fat diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in animal fats and taking vitamin-D can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer to a significant level.
The research by American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund has found that 40 percent of all cases of breast cancer could be prevented with lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes concerning certain risk factors may help prevent breast cancer. The best advice today to help lower the risk of the disease is to maintain a healthy body weight, especially after menopause.
Maintain a healthy body weight
There is a clear link between obesity, especially if you have gained the weight later in life, after menopause. Excess fat is a source of circulating estrogen. And breast cancer risk is linked to how much estrogen we are exposed to during our lifetime. Regular exercise can help us maintain healthy weight and, also helps in lowering the risk of breast cancer.
Eat a healthy diet
Aim for a low-fat diet, rich in fruit and vegetables and low in animal fats. It is not known which specific foods increase the risk. More and more evidence shows alcohol is related to breast cancer, but some evidence shows moderate drinking is beneficial for heart disease prevention.
According to the studies, foods that may help preventing breast cancer include fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Fill two-thirds of your plate with plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Include whole grains, canned tomato products such as pasta sauce, and cruciferous vegetables (including cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower) often, as these foods in particular may offer protection against breast cancer.
Stay physically active
Women should get 30 minutes of exercise or physical activity everyday. According to the National Cancer Institute, women can reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer by 25 percent with exercise. If you have not been particularly active in the past, start your exercise program slowly and gradually work up.
Take vitamin D
In a study of 1,760 women, scientists of California found that risk fell steadily with increasing blood levels of vitamin D. The highest levels (more than 52 ng/mL) correlated with a 50% reduced risk of breast cancer, compared with the lowest amounts (less than 12 ng/mL).
Vitamin D supplemen-tation is one of the most promising approaches to prevention. Nutrition experts have already begun to recommend that adults get 800–1,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Vitamin-D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods like egg, cod liver oil, tuna, margarine, butter (fortified) and available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.
Avoid hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy really does increase breast cancer. Try to avoid hormone replacement therapy. If you need it, use the lowest possible dose for the shortest period possible. These measures cannot provide a guarantee that you will not develop the disease, but, they will give you a great start towards breast cancer prevention.
There are risks for breast cancer that we cannot control like age, gender, family genes and the environment. So the easiest thing for us to control is our choices of foods and drinks, and next is our activity levels. Let’s start the simple strategies to decrease the risk of breast cancer.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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